Utah-Michigan grades: Bad start for Jake Rudock
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Utah-Michigan game:
–We highlighted DT Lowell Lotulelei (+4.0 PFF game grade) as a player to watch during this game and the sophomore certainly lived up to his billing. On a night that both offensive lines struggled, Lotulelei led from the front with a trio of hurries as a pass-rusher and three stops in run defense at the head of Utah’s defensive-line rotation.
–While he may not have put together jaw-dropping numbers, RB Devontae Booker (+0.7) was a steadying influence for the Utah offense on a night when his offensive linemen struggled to give him a steady platform to work with. While he dropped two passes, Booker also broke 10 tackles on his 29 touches, collecting all but 11 of his 69 rushing yards after first contact.
–Along with Booker, it was the balance of QB Travis Wilson (-1.2) that helped push the Utes to victory last night. As a passer he controlled the game between the numbers (18-for-20, 150 yards, when excluding his intercepted Hail Mary), and his ability to chip in as a runner helped off-set a subpar display from his offensive line, while also exploiting a breakdown in the Michigan run defense for his third-quarter touchdown.
DE Hunter Dimick (+4.8)
DT Lowell Lotulelei (+4.0)
DT Viliseni Fauonuku (+3.7)
S Justin Thomas (+3.1)
WR Britain Covey (+2.1)
–Jim Harbaugh’s offenses have been renowned for heavily featuring tight ends, and Jake Butt (+2.6) didn’t waste any time in staking his claim as the next to capitalize on this offense. Butt snagged eight catches on 10 targets, with the highlight play being his tough grab between two defenders for his third-quarter touchdown.
–Michigan fans didn’t get to see much of DB Jabrill Peppers (+1.3) in 2014, as he played just 92 snaps. He almost matched that total last night with 72 snaps against the Utes, and he spent a lot of the night around the ball. It was an action-filled 72 snaps for Peppers to boot, as he surrendered eight catches for 71 yards, committed a pass interference penalty and missed tackle. However, he balanced that with strong work against the run, leading both defense with five stops.
–It was not the dream debut for QB Jake Rudock (-4.5), as he took the field for his second Big Ten school with a three-interception performance. Two touchdowns helped to balance the books for Rudock, who had some bright moments, but a bad pick-six and missed opportunities to exploit breakdowns in the Utah secondary were pivotal in the outcome of the game.
DT Chris Wormley (+3.6)
CB Jourdan Lewis (+3.0)
TE Jake Butt (+2.6)
DT Willie Henry (+1.4)
FB Joe Kerridge (+1.4)