We didn’t know who would take the field for Michigan until Jake Rudock trotted out there with the offense on Michigan’s first possession. Given the secrecy, many assumed we would see both Rudock and Shane Morris throughout the night, but Rudock took every snap in Michigan’s loss to Utah.
Most of the numbers for Rudock were ugly, but there were a few bright spots; most notably a perfect touchdown pass to Jake Butt in traffic.
Take a look at Rudock’s passing chart by distance and direction, and then we’ll get to the highlights (and lowlights) of his debut.
Butt emerges as star
Junior tight end Jake Butt was the target of 10 passes from Rudock (eight receptions), and was clearly his go-to option early in the game.
Butt is a traditional tight end with very little ability to create separation down the field, but he did haul in two passes over 15 yards downfield, including his fourth-quarter touchdown.
Butt was the target of four of Rudock’s 12 attempts on third down, converting three times.
Struggling to connect with receivers
Rudock’s top two receivers Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson combined to haul in 11 receptions on 16 targets—a respectable rate.
But it was the receivers, not Rudock, doing the heavy lifting.
99 of their 123 yards came after the catch, as Ruddock managed to connect with them on just two of six targets that travelled more than 10 yards through the air.
It wasn’t just the deepest throws that gave Rudock trouble, however, as he managed to complete just 12 of 26 passes five or more yards down the field.
Grant Perry’s interesting debut
Michigan has high hopes for freshman receiver Grant Perry, but his career started off with a thud.
Each of Perry’s first three targets resulted in interceptions.
The first interception was clearly on Rudock, as we charted it as an uncatchable pass. But the other two were contested targets on which Perry at least had an opportunity to make a play.
Perry finished with three receptions on six targets for 41 yards.
One of the bright spots for Rudock was his performance under pressure. He was a respectable 6-12 for 85 yards and a touchdown when facing pressure from Utah.
Michigan’s offensive line should be satisfied with having allowed just 13 total pressures on 46 dropbacks against a formidable Utah front seven.