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Saturday, August 30, 2008
Halftime update: Utah leads Michigan, 22-10

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan is in big trouble.

The halftime deficit is 12 as Utah leads Michigan, 22-10. But it should be much, much worse. Quarterback Nick Sheridan and the Wolverines offense look extremely shaky, and you would think coach Rich Rodriguez would start the second half with a different starting quarterback (Steven Threet). Sheridan amazingly avoided an interception until the final minutes of the half, when he forced a throw and Sean Smith picked it off.

Utah quarterback Brian Johnson continues to punish the Wolverines defense, and the Utes have remedied their special-teams woes thanks to All-American Louie Sakoda, who has kicked three field goals. Johnson has been brilliant, making great decisions and racking up 253 passing yards in the half.

The Utes hold a 313-102 edge in net yards.

Michigan's offensive struggles were somewhat expected, but the real surprise has been poor play by the Wolverines' defense. The secondary looks overmatched against Johnson, and a line that was supposed to be the team's strength isn't generating much pressure at all. Aside from a nice goal-line stand early in the second quarter, the Wolverines have been dominated on the defensive side.

The play-calling has been pretty vanilla, which isn't a big surprise given who is playing quarterback. Aside from a play where Greg Mathews out-jumped a Utes defender, Sheridan has been way off on deep passes. Rodriguez put running back Carlos Brown at quarterback for a play, and the former high school signal caller gained four yards. We could see more of that in the second half. Michigan definitely needs something out of the running backs, who have done very little so far. It's quite surprising the Wolverines have nine more passes (19) than runs in the first half.

Bottom line: this offense doesn't look capable of scoring two touchdowns in the second half.