Wolverines left with plenty improve after win
Written by Matt Pargoff   

 

The Wolverines came out of the gate hot against Cincinnati on Saturday, scoring quickly on their first possession and adding a defensive touchdown to open a 14-point edge. Instead of continuing though as the lopsided affair fans expected, the rest of the game was anything but an easy path to victory. Michigan came out with a 36-14 win, but found plenty of areas in need of work.

“I think most of our veteran players are playing good, but the common theme is we’ve got to get experience,” head coach Jim Harbaugh said after the game. “Guys for the first time playing here playing in the Big House, first time going through a week of school, and we’re going to patient. We’re going to coach them up and there’s a long road ahead, but you can’t get experience without playing.”

Things started getting difficult for the Wolverines after a Cincinnati punt hit the ground and deflected off freshmen Benjamin St-Juste, who was blocking on the play. While Harbaugh is excited for Donovan People-Jones’ future as a return man, he pointed to his late decision to wave off teammates as a factor in that turnover, and a reason that Grant Perry ultimately took over the responsibility.

That error led to a Bearcats’ touchdown, and with struggles on offense and a fast start for Cincinnati in the second half, the game remained close much later than most anticipated.

After struggling for much of the contest offensively, the Wolverines finally reclaimed their double-digit edge later in the third quarter when Wilton Speight found Grant Perry on a 33-yard touchdown strike.

Speight completed 17-of-29 passes in the game for 221 yards and two touchdowns, but with the offense converting on just 5-of-15 third down opportunities, there was plenty of room left to improve.

“Obviously there were times where we weren’t all on the same page, like that fumbled exchange with Kekoa [Crawford], but those are simple fixes,” Speight noted. “I’ll look at the film a couple times tonight, watch it again tomorrow, and get those things fixed. But I think overall it was a positive step forward from last week in Dallas.”

Crawford led the way for the Michigan receivers with four catches for 83 yards and a score, along with Perry also pulling in four for 66 yards. Ty Isaac was the key figure in the ground attack, carrying the ball 20 times for 133 yards.

For the second week in a row, the Wolverines defense reached the end zone, this time pulling in two pick-6 interceptions, with Tyree Kinnel and Lavert Hill each scoring. Kinnel led the team with nine tackles, while Devin Bush Jr. had seven, and Khaleke Hudson had six with a pair of sacks.

The Wolverines will play host to Air Force next week, which opened the season with a 62-0 win over VMI before having a bye this weekend.

 
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