The Wolverine

October 2016

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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OCTOBER 2016 THE WOLVERINE 35 Khalid Hill. Through the non-confer- ence, Hill paced the Wolverines run- ning backs with three touchdowns, rushing seven times for 15 yards and making five catches for 32. Harbaugh characterized Hill's play as outstanding and noted he'd per- formed the best of Michigan's fullbacks at this point. But he also served up some praise for redshirt junior Henry Poggi, who did a lot of the blocking dirty work in the non-conference campaign while also making three catches for 13 yards. WIDE RECEIVER Michigan knew it stood in good shape at receiver going into the season, given es- tablished fifth-year senior starters in Jehu Chesson and Amara Darboh, along with improving sopho- more Grant Perry in the slot. The Wolver- ines, though, signifi- cantly added to the mix with another weapon out of the class of incoming freshmen. Rookie Eddie McDoom sets off the "DOOOOOOOM!" cheer every time he touches the football, his elite speed helping him accumulate 55 yards on just five rushing attempts (11.0 av- erage) thus far. He's adept at the jet sweeps Michigan likes to run, but also made three catches for 20 yards in the early going, including one on a play where he was getting held off the line of scrimmage. For the most part, though, the veter- ans have delivered, in terms of catch- ing the football. Darboh paced the pack, with 10 catches for 204 yards (a hefty 20.4 yards per catch) and a team- leading four touchdowns. Chesson hauled in seven passes for 127 yards (18.1 average) over the first three games. Perry made two catches for 66 yards (33.0 average), breaking out on a 54-yarder and run- ning a blocked punt in six yards for a touchdown in the comeback win over Colorado. True freshman Kekoa Crawford has also seen the field at wideout, making one catch for 18 yards early on. So the mix of old and young proceeds apace among those making Michigan's air attack move. All in all, it's tough to argue with the raw numbers. But to a man, Michigan's players know they won't be churning out 50 points a week all season. It got harder against Colorado, and it only grows more difficult going forward. ❏ Nobody can accuse Michigan of not handling its business in a non-conference schedule devoid of top-25 squads. The Wolverines were expected to rise strongly and did. Their scoring average of 53.0 points per game is just the tip of the iceberg, in terms of eye-catching numbers early. Here are several more categories in which the Wolverines are among the best teams in the nation: Completion Percentage — Despite featuring a new starter at quarterback, Michigan came out of non-conference play No. 21 in the nation for comple- tion percentage. They hit on 65.9 percent as a team in the first three games. East Carolina led the country (79.1), while Big Ten opponents Michigan State (72.7) and Ohio State (67.9 percent) were also ahead of U-M. Fewest Penalties — Michigan drew just 10 flags in three games, tied for No. 8 in the nation. Purdue paced the nation with just four in two games, while Wisconsin got flagged eight times in three contests to tie for fourth nationally. Team Passing Efficiency — The Wolverines checked in at No. 21 in the early going, with a rating of 163.8. Washington led the nation at 213.07, while Ohio State was No. 6 at 184.71, Michigan State No. 8 (183.42) and Indiana No. 20 (164.92). Turnovers Lost — Michigan came through the non-conference tied for eighth in the na- tion for fewest turnovers lost, with two. Red- shirt sophomore quarterback Wilton Speight threw an interception on his first pass of the year and lost a fumble under a heavy blitz against Colorado. No Michigan running back or receiver fumbled through the pre-Big Ten slate. Maryland was among the three squads not to suffer a turnover in the opening three games, while Indiana, Minnesota and Iowa turned it over only once — the Hoosiers and Gophers in two games, the Hawkeyes in three. Individual Passing Efficiency — Spei- ght ranked No. 18 nationally in passing ef- ficiency, with a rating of 166.3. Washington's Jake Browning paced the nation at 206.9, while Ohio State's J.T. Barrett stood fifth in the country at 184.4 and Michigan State's Tyler O'Connor sixth at 183.4. Individual Passing Touchdowns — Spei- ght's eight touchdown passes tied for 16th na- tionally. Texas Tech's Patrick Mahomes topped QBs across the country with 14, while Barrett notched 10 in Ohio State's opening three contests. — John Borton Wolverines' Ranks Among Top Performers Despite running the ball just seven times through the first three contests, redshirt junior Khalid Hill scored three times from the fullback position. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN Redshirt sophomore quarter- back Wilton Speight ranks in the nation's top 20 for passing touchdowns (16th with eight) and passing effi- ciency (18th at 166.3) after three games. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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