The University of Michigan football season started September 2nd against the Florida Gators. The game was hard hitting and very balanced by Coach Jim Harbaugh’s team. They focused on the run this game with some issues with the passing game in the first half. Michigan won the much anticipated contest 33-17 giving Florida their first opening season loss in 28 years.
This game was hard fought by a very young Michigan defense. They put pressure on each of the Florida quarterbacks the entire game. The Michigan defense forced fumbles and recorded six sacks. The Michigan defensive line was continually quick off the snap and stopped the Gator’s rush allowing only 11 rushing yards all game.
The questions leading up to the game were all answered very early on. Wilton Speight was the starting quarterback and the young defense held up very well. The big surprise was the exceptional play of sophomore Linebacker Devin Bush. Bush had two sacks, five solo tackles with two assisted tackles. He was all over the field the entire game.
The shining star for the game was freshman kicker Quinn Nordin. He showed the confidence to make four of six field goals. He even made field goals from 55 and 50 yards.
Quarterback Wilton Speight had a rough start to his season. He threw two interceptions in the second quarter that were returned for back to back touchdowns. He was replaced by John O’Korn after the second interception. Speight however, came back into the game a couple series later completing the game for the Wolverines. He had 11 completions on 25 attempts for 181 yards and one touchdown. His only touchdown was caught by freshman wide receiver Tarik Black for 46 yards.
The Michigan running game was very active today with 5 separate players combining for 215 net yards. Chris Evans had the majority of the workload with 22 carries for 78 yards with a long run of 29 yards. Ty Isaac added 11 carries for 114 yards for a long rush of 36 yards. Karan Higdon was not to be outdone today with his 7 rushes for 29 yards and a touchdown.
A surprise in the game was the emergence of plays from the tight ends in this game. Sean McKeon caught 3 passes for 25 yards with a long reception of 10 yards. Nick Eubanks caught 2 passes for 61 yards and a long reception of 48 yards. This is the bread and butter of the Michigan offense and they were very effective in the second half of this game.
Freshman wide receiver Tarik Black saw looks early from Speight. He caught 2 passes for 83 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore Grant Perry also showed his abilities with 4 receptions for 46 yards with a long reception of 28 yards. Perry is a person of need with all the youth at the wide receiver position.
Coach Harbaugh showed his determination to his players with pulling quarterback Wilton Speight for a couple series so he could reflect and take a breather. Speight showed why he was named starter in the second half but he now needs to show his ability through the whole game next week versus Cincinnati.
This game was a lot closer than it should have been with the play of Florida and the Michigan defense. If not for the 2 interceptions for touchdowns the game would have looked much different.
The season is very early for team 138 from Michigan but we were shown glimpses of what is to come in the next weeks. This team is motivated and ready to compete every week.