ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan has done what it expected to do in the first half, having dominated on both offense and defense to take a 17-0 lead at halftime over Illinois.
Stat of the half: 185 yards. That is Denard Robinson’s combined rushing and passing yardage Saturday despite that he missed almost a quarter’s worth of time with an injury before returning in the second quarter. Robinson outgained Illinois all by himself.
Player of the half: Michigan linebacker Jake Ryan. The Wolverines’ best defender had a team-high eight tackles during the first half and covered sideline to sideline quite well. He also got good pressure on Illinois’ quarterbacks. Ryan also had two tackles for loss and was the catalyst for a defense which held Illinois to 121 yards.
What’s working for Michigan: Michigan’s defense. The Wolverines have been extremely stout the entire first half, holding Illinois to four yards passing in the first quarter and 43 yards overall. Michigan put good pressure on Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase and the defensive line was very effective against the Illini front.
What’s not working for Michigan: A couple of penalties here and there, including a punt catch interference call on Josh Furman during coverage, will likely frustrate Brady Hoke, but the Wolverines had a pretty strong half on both offense and defense.