Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis is a Schembechler-era savant and once again this season he’ll be diligently handing out his postgame helmet stickers after each game. Sap has pored over hours and hours of U-M games over several decades, and in these posts he’s able to tie the present to the past. I encourage you to subscribe to Dr. Sap on YouTube, or follow Sap on Twitter.
OFFENSIVE CHAMPION – I get the fact that Minnesota is a team in transition with first year coach, PJ Fleck, but that shouldn’t take a way from the accomplishments of Karan Higdon and Chris Evans. Those two guys look much like Jamie Morris and Thomas Wilcher in stature, but they ran like the record-setting duo of Gordon Bell and Rob Lytle back in 1975. Much like #5 and #41 ran for 100 yards each in two consecutive games, so have Higdon and Evans. I recognize the last two opponents have not exactly been upper echelon teams, but cracking the century mark in two straight games is noteworthy. I just loved how they hit the home run and showed you that they could go the distance on any play. This offense is gonna need that type of running and game-breaking ability these next three weeks.
DEFENSIVE CHAMPION – As I was watching Khaleke Hudson wreak havoc all over the Gopher offense Saturday night, it struck me how much this game has changed. A few years ago, you had big guys like Mark Messner making plays off the edge. No more. Speed is all over the field now, on both sides of the ball. Last year it was Jabrill Peppers making plays from every spot on the field, and now this year it appears that Hudson has a good grasp on that Viper position. Could his game be peaking at the right time? I sure hope so! Plays like that will be needed in the next three weeks.
SPECIAL TEAMS CHAMPION – Sometimes you don’t need to hit the home run to be a Champion. Donovan Peoples-Jones did just that, last night. All that mattered from his return game was that he not turn over the ball. On a cold and soggy night, sure-handedness mattered most, not flashy runs. DPJ had a few solid punt returns, but was more impressive was the fact that he demonstrated ball-security first with no turnovers.
COACHING CHAMPION – Offensive coordinator and interior o-ine Coach Tim Drevno gets kudos for a couple of things: 1) Calling a good mix of runs and passes that were executed with little or no negative plays early when the game was close. (2) Having a short leash with some of the O-Linemen when Missed Assignments caused plays to break down. Playing Time is the biggest factor a coach has over his players. MA’s will greatly hamper your PT in a hurry. Hopefully the short leash will get their attention and reduce the numbers of MA’s going forward.
UNIFORM CHAMPION – Not sure that it qualifies as part of the uniform, but I dig the Jordan skullcap that Higdon was sporting in the post-game interview on the field with FOX. Reminded me of when Braylon Edwards made those popular about 10 or so years ago.
MVICTORS.COM EDITOR’S UN-CHAMPION: On Monday I delivered a lecture on The Little Brown Jug in Bruce Madej’s course ‘The History of College Athletics’. Attending that class were several fine young minds including a few fellers on the football squad, notably one cat with Thor-like flowing blond locks.
I told those guys that if fortune shined upon us and U-M retained the jug, that they had to keep two hands on that damn thing. Or else.
Fast forward to Saturday and then, Sunday morning.
— MVictors (@MVictors) November 5, 2017
This one’s my favorite! pic.twitter.com/vVfoWrbn3s
— Chase Winovich (@Chase_Winovich) November 5, 2017
So memo to Chase Winovich. You are now minus 1 virtual decal and perhaps more significantly, you just made my list*
Week by Week Champions (O = Offense, D = Defense, T = Special Teams, C = Coaching, U = Uniform, E = Editor’s pick)
Week 1 vs. Florida: Ty Issac (O), Devin Bush (D), Quinn Nordin (T), Don Brown, Greg Mattison (C), all-maize unis (U), Camaron Cheeseman (E)
Week 2 vs. Cincinnati: Ty Issac (O), Tyree Kinnel (D), Grant Perry (T), Greg Mattison (C), refined helmet decals (U).
Week 3 vs. Air Force: N/A (O), Chase Winovich (D), Quinn Nordin & Donovan Peoples-Jones (T), Jim Harbaugh (C), full on maize and blue uniforms (U)
Week 4 vs. Purdue: John O’Korn (O), Devin Bush (D), Brad Robbins (T), Don Brown (C), white-arm-sleeves-on-shins (U)
Week 5 vs. Michigan State: N/A
Week 6 vs. Indiana: Karan Higdon (O), Maurice Hurst (D) and (T), Tim Drevno (C)
Week 7 vs. Penn State: N/A
Week 8 vs. Rutgers: Brandon Peters (O), Maurice Hurst (D), Garrett Moores (T), Jim Harbaugh (C), Helmet Sticker Number (U)
Week 9 vs. Minnesota:
*my list of guys I’m going to find when they are a lot older, smaller, slower and weaker.