BWW Bowl Grades: The Defense

GoBlueWolverine.com
Posted Dec 29, 2013


The final grades for the defense, as the Wolverines fell to KSU 31-14 in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl

Defensive Line

The Michigan defensive front didn’t have its best performance of the season. While the unit would finish with two sacks, KSU quarterback Jake Waters would have all-day to throw completing 21-of-27 passes for 271 yards and three touchdowns. Waters and fellow quarterback Daniel Sims would shake Wolverine defenders all night, as they would combine for 65-yards on the ground. And last but not least, KSU tailback John Hubert would run for 80 yards on 16 carries with one touchdown. It seemed every time Hubert got the ball, he would gash the Wolverine defense right up the middle for 10 yards a carry. With Michigan unable to stop the run game, it only led to bigger trouble in the pass game.

Grade: C-

Linebackers

The linebackers had their moments on Saturday. Since their defensive front wasn’t getting too much push, it was up to them most of the night to make some plays in the KSU backfield. They just were unable to do it. The scrambling ability of the Wildcat quarterbacks, with the combination of Hubert’s runs through the creases proved too much for the linebacker unit. The one bright spot for the unit was the forced fumble late in the third quarter by Jake Ryan.

Grade: C-

Secondary

How good is KSU wide receiver Tyler Lockett is? He’s real good. And he proved it over and over again on Saturday night. Lockett, torched U-M’s secondary for 116-yards with 10 catches and a Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl record three touchdowns – all three scores were in the first half and he would drop a possibly easy fourth touchdown in the second-half. Even when Michigan’s defense would force third-and-long, the defense would give up key first downs, due to secondary break downs. Michigan just had no answer for the Wildcats passing attack all night, and they will need to address some of their issues this off-season – and coverage skills should be the top priority.

Grade: D-

Overall

The defense gave up 420 total yards of offense on the night. KSU would finish 7-of-11 on third-conversions and started the game 5-of-5, including 4-for-4 on the opening drive. The defense would force only one KSU punt on the evening, which was late in the fourth quarter with the game all but over. While the defense had some stops in the second half, they really never gave Shane Morris a chance to keep them in this ball game, as the young freshman had to play catch up the whole game. With a month to prepare for the KSU offense, Michigan had no answers on how to stop Lockett and company. Grade: D


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