ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan football EDGE Mike Morris said he is feeling “great” two days after going down with an apparent injury near the end of a blowout victory over Nebraska.
Speaking Monday evening on the “Inside Michigan Football” radio show, Morris said he had suffered “a little tweak” against the ‘Huskers and is on the right track after receiving treatment earlier in the day.
“I’m feeling great,” Morris said. “Just a little tweak. I feel like I’ll be all right. The trainers are working hard with me every day. I was getting treatment for like four hours this morning, so I’ll be fine. I’m in great hands.”
The lower-body injury occurred midway through the fourth quarter of Michigan’s 34-3 victory over Nebraska. After a few moments on the turf, Morris was able to jog to the sidelines, though he seemed to be in some discomfort. The edge rusher didn’t return to the game, but at that point the Wolverines had a comfortable lead and could play backups for the final minutes of the blowout.
Morris finished the Nebraska game with only one tackle but has been one of U-M’s most productive defenders this season. His 7.5 sacks and 11.0 tackles for loss both lead the team, and he has also forced a fumble.
And the fourth-year player is a leader on a Michigan team that currently ranks first in the nation in scoring defense (11.2 ppg), boasting the nation’s best rushing defense (72.7 ypg), fourth-best passing defense (160.1 ypg) and the top total defense (232.8 ypg).
And Jim Harbaugh knew it from the start. The UM coach spoke in fall camp about the Wolverines being a “no-star” defense, drawing some puzzled reactions when he claimed the edge rushers and interior might be better than they were in 2021. While there will be no Heisman finalist from the defensive line this year, 10 games into the season, its success cannot be denied.
“I called it the ‘no-name defense’ in some ways, where guys at each position were competing to make a name for themselves,” Harbaugh said Monday. “And I think that’s transpired. Playing great team defence. Each position group is really playing outstanding, and they’re playing outstanding together.”
Another of the bigger names from that “no-name” unit is Chris Jenkins. The defensive tackle has been a force on the interior, quietly — and sometimes not so quietly — forming the wall that has stymied so many opposing rush offenses.
“Like we’ve been saying all year, we really identified ourselves as a ‘no star’ defense,” Jenkins said. “We really pride ourselves on working as one cohesive unit and be really successful across the board.”
The two games left on the schedule present distinct challenges for the Wolverines. Illinois boasts Chase Brown, the FBS leader in rushing yards (1,442) and attempts (280). His status is unclear for this weekend’s game due to injury, but even if he can’t go, the Illini field a Bret Bielema-coached offensive line that, like Michigan’s, is known for its sound technique and physicality.
Then comes Ohio State, the No. 2 scoring offense in college football, largely thanks to CJ Stroud and an aerial attack that has scored more passing TDs (35) than any other team in the nation.
“We want to stay the No. 1 scoring defense in the country,” Jenkins said. “We really pride ourselves on having that kind of identity, but we want to keep it that way.”