Warning to New Big 10 Teams : Learn Defense!
Here’s a warning to new Big 10 teams arriving this fall: Learn defense. Learn how to play defense. Learn how to play against defense. This warning comes on the heals of Monday night’s college football national championship as Michigan smothered the formerly high-flying Washington Huskies 34-13.
The Washington Huskies are one of four teams, including the USC Trojans, UCLA Bruins, and Oregon Ducks which will be moving to the Big 10 in summer of 2024. Big 10 teams are known for defense. Pac 12 teams are known for ignoring defense. Case in point: The Big 10 placed 6 teams in the top 20 scoring defenses in 2023. In fact, the top four spots were occupied by Big 10 teams. In order: Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Iowa. Oregon cracked the top 10 but Washington placed 53rd.
Going into Monday nights natty, Michigan’s defense had given up just over 10 points per game. Only three teams cracked 20 points on them. Maryland and Ohio State scored 24 each. Alabama scored 20 in last week’s Rose Bowl. That’s it! Craig Shemon and Company on ESPN Southwest Florida felt going into the championship game that Washington’s offense, led by Heisman runner-up QB Michael Penix Jr. and his three future NFL wide receivers might score a few points on Michigan.
Michigan’s defensive coordinator Jesse Minter and his crew held the high-flying Huskies to 13 points and gave up just one chunk play all night. Other than a 44 yard reception by Rome Odunze, Washington’s longest play through the air was 15 yards. And Penix, one of the most accurate passers in college football, over threw his targets all night. Despite registering just one sack, the Wolverines defensive front made Penix uncomfortable all night. It was remarkable. Conversely, Washington’s porous defense couldn’t stop Michigan’s ground game. The Wolverines rushed for over 300 yards on the night. Blake Corum capped his career with 134 yards and two touchdowns. And Donovan Edwards tallied 104 yards including two long scores.
NEW BIG 10 TEAMS : LEARN DEFENSE!
Washington, USC, UCLA, and Oregon better brush up on its defensive skill set before September or it will be a rude awakening in the Big 10.