As I walked home from Michigan Stadium at 3 a.m. last Sunday morning following Michigan’s 35-31 win over Notre Dame, music blared from various fraternity houses and the city was still very alive. A question popped in my mind:

Is this party ever going to end?

The fraternity parties, of course, had to end at some point. My open window told me those finally tapered off around 5 a.m. And the blank look on my friends’ faces and their many trips to the bathroom the next morning gave me a little insight on that, too.

But the Michigan football party is still raging — people can’t stop talking about the Wolverines, how incredible junior quarterback Denard Robinson was down the stretch against the Irish, how coach Brady Hoke is a genius for going for the winning touchdown with eight seconds left instead of kicking a field goal for the tie, how the defense came up with huge plays when Michigan needed it most, how Michigan is back … It goes on.

These are all valid things to be excited about. And if a football team was judged solely on one fourth-quarter performance, the Wolverines may very well be ranked No. 1 in the nation.

Maybe I’m confused, but isn’t there more to a football season than one quarter? My sources tell me yes, but listening to most Michigan fans talk, I swear only one quarter has been played this year and only that quarter matters. Forever.

Upon review, I have determined that yes, the rest of the season matters too. I’ve also determined that winning one rivalry game early in the season may give a team a momentum boost that could catapult it to appear better than it actually is. And I’ve concluded that it gives fans a reason to believe their team can beat any team in the nation and that their quarterback can take down Hercules.

But here’s the kicker: One great quarter of football doesn’t wipe away a team’s blemishes. And the Wolverines have a lot of those as they prepare to take on Eastern Michigan this Saturday at Michigan Stadium.

It is still early in the season, so it’s hard to judge a team based on two games. (Just one according to NCAA statistics because of the rain-shortened win over Western Michigan. The Big Ten, however, counts that as a full game. Yes, I’m confused too.) But some of these statistics are just too hard to ignore.

Sure, some of the Big Ten teams started off the season with two cupcakes. But many had some tough opponents: Indiana against Virginia, Iowa against Iowa State, Penn State against Alabama, Minnesota against USC, to name a few.

And still the Wolverines remain at the bottom of the pack in many statistics.

Ninth in the Big Ten in total defense. Tenth in rushing defense. Ninth in passing defense. Eleventh in pass defense efficiency. Tenth in kickoff returns. Eleventh in kickoff coverage. Ninth in penalties. Tenth in rushing offense (Robinson was first last year in the Big Ten). Dead last in first downs. Dead last in time of possession — by a mile.

And, of course, last in field goals made.

Everyone knew the defense would have its troubles. Coming off a year in which the defense ranked 110th nationally and with a new coordinator in Greg Mattison and a new 4-3 scheme, it was going to take some time for the Wolverines to gel. So while Michigan would’ve liked to get off to a better start defensively, it’s no huge surprise it’s had its struggles so far.

Special teams have been a disaster the last two years, and so far, it hasn’t been much better, as the Wolverines have struggled in nearly every aspect of the kicking and punting game. Michigan has yet to attempt a field goal, mainly because it’s 5-for-5 in red-zone touchdowns and hasn’t needed to rely on the kicking game.

Possibly the biggest concern is the offense. Like the defense, it’s adjusting to a new scheme — what offensive coordinator Al Borges now refers to as a “hybrid” scheme — a mix between the spread offense and the West Coast offense. And like the defense, it should take a little time to gel.

But so far, it’s been all or nothing. The running backs have been ineffective for the most part, except for a couple long runs against the Broncos. Robinson can’t seem to find any room to run. The receivers are either catching 40-yard bombs or they’re invisible. The offense can’t put together a sustained drive; last Saturday, the Wolverines had just two drives with more than four plays — an unheard of statistic.

That means more time spent on the field for the defense. If your team is going to survive on such few plays, you better have an incredible defense. And this team clearly does not, at least not yet.

Michigan has done some good things, too. The defense has created turnovers (it’s first in the Big Ten with three interceptions). The offensive line has only allowed one sack. At times, Robinson has shown the ability to throw the ball accurately. And this team has proved it has the ability to play well in pressure-packed situations — a characteristic of any championship team.

But maybe most importantly, the Wolverines — the coaches and the players — know they’re nowhere near where they need to be, and they need to continue to improve, starting Saturday against the Eagles.

“We could blame (our struggles) on (the fact that) this is the first year of new coaches, but we’re all in college for a reason,” redshirt sophomore Taylor Lewan said after practice on Tuesday. “We were recruited here to do something.

“It’s our jobs, not the coaches jobs, to get ourselves in gear.”

Just hold the champagne for now.

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