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Michigan vs. Hawaii: Game Balls

Taking a look at the three guys who stood out on offense, defense and special teams in Michigan’s season opener.

Dustin Johnston / @DJPhotoVideo

Almost everything went right for Michigan in its 63-3 win over Hawaii on Saturday afternoon, meaning there was no shortage of standout performances.

Let’s hand out some game balls:


Freshman Running Back Chris Evans

Stats: Eight carries, 112 yards, two touchdowns

Evans was arguably the star of the win over Hawaii. He had an excellent debut and showed why he will be valuable to the Wolverines in the run game.

Evans was hailed as a player in camp to watch and it was good to see him back up the hype in game action. He is a gamebreaker and it will be interesting to see how Michigan incorporates him into the offense going forward.


Redshirt Junior Mike McCray

Stats: 7.5 total tackles (3.5 for loss), two sacks, forced fumble

Linebacker was one of Michigan’s question marks coming into the season, but they performed well in the first game of the year, headlined by the performance of McCray.

He has had a hard time staying on the field due to injuries, but is expected to be a big part of the defense this season. Don Brown is going to blitz, and blitz he did on Saturday. McCray was up to the challenge and played very well.

Special Teams

Redshirt Sophomore Jabrill Peppers

Peppers could have very easily been in the spot that McCray is with his debut at linebacker for the Wolverines, but on a day where there were hardly any fireworks on special teams, he provided them on his own on a return that ultimately did not even end up counting because of a penalty.

Honorable Mention

The Freshman 15 (Er...17)

The class of 2016 has long been touted as a group that would pay early dividends for Michigan as soon as they hit campus, and Saturday backed that up. Harbaugh played 17 true freshman against Hawaii, most in reserve roles, but that is still extremely important.

They have players like Evans and Rashan Gary, among others, who will be important pieces in year one, but they are not going to overly rely on freshmen this season. That bodes well for both now and in the future, as the reps will not only help the team this season but also help them gain experience for the seasons moving forward.