Michigan took down the UCF Knights by a score of 51-14 on Saturday afternoon. Despite the blowout win, there were some things the Wolverines need to work on, but they obviously did quite a bit well, too.
Here are the takeaways:
Speight in Command
Wilton Speight followed up his debut with an outstanding performance, going 25-of-37 for 312 yards and four touchdowns. UCF was stacking the box to stop the run (more on that later), but Michigan countered with play action passes executed perfectly by the redshirt sophomore quarterback.
The Wolverines have a lot of weapons in the passing game and Speight did a great job of spreading the ball around while also feeding the key guys like Amara Darboh, Jehu Chesson and Jake Butt.
It was another weak defense they faced, but Speight did the job today and had an excellent outing. He is firmly entrenched as Michigan’s starting quarterback.
Big Plays Surrendered
Defensively, Michigan struggled to stop the dual-threat quarterbacks that UCF trotted out there. The Knights rushed for 275 rushing yards and had runs of 26, 34, 35 and 87 yards.
It is not the end of the world, but Michigan has struggled to stop the spread offense in the past. They put a lot of things on film today, both good and bad, so it will be up to Jim Harbaugh and Don Brown to make adjustments moving forward.
Gary was up-and-down during his collegiate debut against Hawaii, but the true freshman was arguably the best defensive player on the field and had a great outing. He finished with six total tackles, half a sack and 2.5 tackles for loss.
Michigan is a little banged up on the defensive line right now, but Gary will be a mainstay throughout assuming he stays healthy. He was quicker off the snap than last week and looks as if he is easing into his role and is ready to be a huge contributor on the defense.
Michigan was not great running the football on Saturday with 41 rushes for 119 yards, which averages out to about three yards per carry. The Knights were playing with eight or nine men in the box on many downs. The Wolverines were able to counter that with the play action passing game and move the ball anyways, but it is definitely something to keep an eye on.
Michigan rotated its backs today often and the offensive line was inconsistent, but they were still able to get the job done. Like the defense, they will go into the film room and do their best to tinker and improve.
Today was another example of just how important special teams is. Michigan was as successful as they were today because of field position and blocking four kicks (two punts, two field goals). On the flip side, UCF was inept on special teams and it certainly did not help their cause at all.
Michigan fans were worried when John Baxter moved on after last season, but Jay Harbaugh and Chris Partridge have done a nice job coaching that group so far this season.
What did you takeaway from Saturday’s game? Sound off in the comments below!