01 December 2009

Black Shirts Stifle Bearcats as They Assist Charles in His First Start

All eyes were on true FR QB Mark Charles as he made the first start of his career in only his 2nd game. After being rushed into last week's game after Forcier was injured, Charles put up disappointing numbers as he threw 3 interceptions. While he showed once again that his passing game is in dire need of improving, he showed that the hype given to his rushing game was well deserved.

Michigan's offense was far from efficient, but they played well enough to get the job done on the road against a very good "A" rated Bearcats team. They only gained 341 yards of total offense and were really poor on 3rd downs as they only converted 2 of 7. Most of the Wolverine offense came on the ground as is the custom for them. They rushed for 196 yard and 4 TDs while Charles only managed to pass for 145 yards. He also threw his 4th pick of the season while he still has yet to throw his first TD pass. Mike Shaw, who missed most of his JR year due to injury, ran the ball well between the tackles as he gained 58 yards on 9 carries including a 17 yard TD run where he ran over a Bearcats' defender. Last year's leading rushing, Vincent Smith, was completely shut down in this game as he was never able to turn the corner on any of his runs and was tackled for a loss on 5 of his 7 carries. The story of the day on the ground, however, was Charles. Things were scary at the beginning of the game for Wolverines fans though. On his second carry, he was blasted by a Cincinnati defender just like Manti Teo hit him last week and knocked him out for a few plays. Luckily, he bounced right back up as he showed his toughness. For the game, he ran for 62 yards on his first 13 carries for a nice 4.8 yard average. It was his final carry of the game, however, that really left Michigan fans salivating. He took the snap on a QB power run off tackle and scampered, untouched, 44 yards for his 2nd rushing TD of the day as he left all of the defenders in his wake. He ended the day with 106 yards and 2 TDs on the ground.

While all eyes were on Charles, it couldn't go unnoticed that the reason Charles was able to do his thing was because the blackshirts played so well. They only allowed 10 points and they scored as many TDs as the Bearcat offense. They only allowed 18 rushing yards on 27 carries and only allowed 3 of 10 on 3rd down conversions and stopped both Cincinnati 4th down conversion attempts. They also forced 2 fumbles, 1 of which was returned for a TD by LB J.B. Fitzgerald. While they shut down Cincinnati's running game, they need to do better against the pass. Cinci's QB was nearly superman as he completed 24 of 29 passes for 310 yards. Everyone on the Wolverines' defense was flying all over the field as they were lead by 4 players who had 9 tackles. They also played most of the game in the Bearcats' backfield. While they only had 1 sack on the day, they tallied 18 TFLs.

The Wolverines are now preparing to take on a ranked Virginia Tech team in their final game before they begin their Big Ten title defense.

Here are the highlights from week 3:

Game Statistics

First Downs1616
Total Offense341328
Passing YDS145310
3rd Down Conv2-73-10
4th Down Conv1-10-2
2pt Conv0-00-0
PR Yds5021
KR Yds68129
Total Yards459478

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