I struggled with the internet connection on the live stream I was forced to watch (Big Ten Network, living in Virginia, grumble grumble grumble) for teh first half of the first quarter, but it was up for the most important part: Michigan's first offensive touchdown drive.
From there it was like every MAC game you'd care to remember Michigan having played. The Wolverine offense asserted itself slowly as the game wore on, and Central MIchigan's offense was met with a large blow when Zurlon Tipton went down with an injury.
Michigan put together a very good game, although one with problems. There were breakdowns in the secondary in the first half, there were blown assignments on the interior of the offensive line, and Michigan failed to wrap up tackles too often.
Overall it was a solid first game out, and Michigan has a lot of positives to build from. All in all, it was the game that Michigan fans wanted to see: an utterly uneventful romp against a team that should be romped.
Basically, business as usual.
- Devin Gardner wants a couple throws back, but overall he completed two-thirds of his passes and kept plays alive with his feet. His lack of accuracy on a couple deep throws was worrying, but this was realistically what Michigan was going to get from Gardner: a whole lot of physical potential that is still raw enough to make you pound your fist on the table.
- Lots of running backs played. Fitz led the way and showed some of his 2011 form with crisp cuts and an ability to absorb contact. He topped out with 14 for 57 good for 4.1 yards/carry. Not a bad day. The big surprise was Derrick Green, who came in and shut up the doubters with a nice 30 yard run followed by a touchdown. He looked the best out of all the backups, and should establish himself soon as one of MIchigan's rotation players in the backfield. going for 57 yards on 11 carries Deveon Smith also got some run, and while he didn't look as good as Green, he was better than the Rawls/Johnson combo. The freshmen will be a factor this year.
- Speaking of rotation players, Shane Morris got his first game action and acquited himself well. An overthrow led to an interception, but he made a few nice throws. I still don't want to see him anywhere near meaningful game action, but opening his career with 4/6 for 60 yards and one INT isn't awful.
- The interior line looked good at times, but there were some missed assignments (not a surprise given the youth). It was still a better performance than Michigan got from its interior line last year.
- On defense, Michigan looked good up front. The defensive line did a good job getting pressure and making life hard on Central's quarterbacks.
- The SAM position should be in good hands. Cam Gordon made a number of plays, and Brennan Beyer got into the backfield for at least one sack that I remember. The inside linebackers were a bit quiet, at least to my eyes.
- Considering that Thomas Gordon sat the game out, the defensive backfield didn't look terrible. Central looked to pass the ball downfield, and had some luck at ttimes, but it wasn't as bad as it could have been. Jarrod Wilson even made a couple good plays, filling for a TFL and almost grabbing an INT. The problems aren't erased, but seeing Michigan hold up without its best safety has to make you feel good, at least for a little while until you realize that Notre Dame comes to town next week.
- Michigan opened the game with a blocked punt/touchdown, so we've got that going for us.
We will have a whole lot more coverage coming in the next few days, so stick around.