Five takeaways: Michigan football defeats UConn

·6 min read

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — No. 4 Michigan played its third-straight home game to start the season and on Saturday the Wolverines hosted the 1-2 Connecticut Huskies.

Michigan thrashed UConn, 59-0, in its last game before Big Ten play starts next week. The Wolverines had their first shutout of the season.

The Wolverines took a 38-0 lead at halftime and it was smooth sailing in the second half — or maybe it was after a 17-0 lead in the first quarter.

Michigan played its starters for the first series in the second half before turning it over to the backups. The J.J. McCarthy-led Wolverines totaled 467 yards of total offense and the Wolverines’ defense created havoc against a lowly UConn Huskies team. The maize and blue only allowed 110 yards of total offense to the Huskies and Michigan recovered a ‘non-forced’ fumble by UConn.

Both Alex Orji and Alan Bowman come in during the second half to lead touchdown drives, and Leon Franklin had his first-career rushing touchdown. It was a great day for the Wolverines that don’t see the field much. The maize and blue played eight different quarterbacks.

Here are our five takeaways after Michigan defeated UConn on Saturday.

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A.J. Henning was finally utilized

A.J. Henning vs. UConn
A.J. Henning vs. UConn

Photo by: Isaiah Hole

Going into the Saturday, A.J.Henning had just two touches in two games — one reception and one rushing attempt.

Michigan had a goal to get Henning more involved on Saturday and it was apparent.

In the first half alone Henning recorded three receptions for 33 yards and he had one carry out of the backfield for three yards. The Wolverines view Henning as a ‘Deebo Samuel’ type of player and that was how the maize and blue used him against Connecticut.

Henning also returned a punt return for 61-yards for a touchdown in the first half. It was the Wolverines’ first punt return for a touchdown since 2018.

Henning played one more series in the second half and he caught another ball. He finished the day with four receptions for 37 yards.

Mike Sainristil looks like a natural in the secondary

Mike Sainristil UConn
Mike Sainristil UConn

Photo by: Isaiah Hole

The converted receiver looks better and better each week in the secondary.

Sainristil was second on the team in the first half with three sacks. He also generated one tackle-for-loss, and one quarterback hurry.

Sainristil was flying all over the field against the Huskies on Saturday. He was able to penetrate into the backfield to stuff a ball carrier and he attacked off the edge to give Zion Turner a headache most of the game.

Like most of the defense, the captain only played one series in the second half without generating any more stats.

Sainristil and the Michigan defense played a phenomenal game against UConn.

Offense still looked prolific with J.J. McCarthy

J.J. McCarthy UConn
J.J. McCarthy UConn

Photo by: Isaiah Hole

The five-star sophomore started his second-career game on Saturday against UConn and while there were a few hiccups in the game for the offense, it still moved the ball at ease with McCarthy behind center.

In the first half, McCarthy was 10-for-13 for 172 yards. One of his missed passes was due to Cornelius Johnson falling running a route that would’ve been on the money.

McCarthy messed up a couple of times on the read-option. He pulled the ball away on Blake Corum when he should’ve handed it off to him and it ended on a negative yardage play. But McCarthy is still growing and his potential is out of this world.

McCarthy played one drive in the second half before Davis Warren took over. McCarthy finished the day going 15-for-18 for 214 yards. He led Michigan to six scoring drives and five of those were touchdowns.

The Wolverines appear to be in great hands with McCarthy moving forward. Like I said last week, the football coming out of his hand looks so effortless.

The offensive line has some work to do in pass protection but Michigan continues to run the ball at will

Blake Corum UConn
Blake Corum UConn

Photo by: Isaiah Hole

The 2021 Joe Moore Award-winning offensive line is off to a little bit of a shaky start to the 2022 season. Injuries could be a reason, Ryan Hayes missed one game, sixth-man Karsen Barnhart has been out the past two games, and Trevor Keegan has missed time the past two games — he left the game against the Huskies.

The issue has been solid pass protection. The Wolverines allowed two sacks against UConn, one of which came at the expense of Cade McNamara in the first half.

But the Wolverines continue to run the ball at an elite level. Against UConn, Blake Corum had five rushing touchdowns and 71 yards on 12 carries.

The O-line continues to open up running lanes and the Wolverines’ shifty backs do an excellent job at making defenders miss on the second level.

Corum scored four touchdowns in the first half and he is only the second Wolverine to ever do that and the third maize and blue running back to score five touchdowns in a game — he joins Ron Johnson and Hassan Haskins.

Defense continues to get the job done

Junior Colson Mike Sainristil vs UConn
Junior Colson Mike Sainristil vs UConn

Photo by: Isaiah Hole

Michigan hasn’t played anyone with a prolific offense, but the Wolverines can only play against who is on the schedule.

And they are doing a good job at it.

The Michigan defense held UConn to 64 yards of total offense in the first half — only 12 yards thru the air. The Huskies went just 1-for-8 on third down conversion in the first half.

The Wolverines rotate so many guys in-and-out on the defense — especially on the defensive line — so the opposing team doesn’t know what they’re going to get each series. The edge defenders were energetic off the snap. Braiden McGregor was really impressive once again getting constant pressure.

The maize and blue didn’t record a sack in the game, but that was mostly due to the Huskies getting rid of the ball as soon as Zion Turner touched the ball. It was still an impressive showing from the Michigan defensive line.

Michigan did recover a fumble in the game — that was unforced — after the UConn Victor Rosa dropped the ball.

The Wolverines only allowed six first downs in the game and the Huskies were only able to go 2-for-13 on third downs — domination.

Story originally appeared on Wolverines Wire