Michigan is off to a 1-0 start for the 2023 season after their 30-3 victory on Saturday against East Carolina.
Let’s hand out a couple of game balls to some of the key contributors who made it all possible.
Junior quarterback J.J. McCarthy couldn’t have gotten off to a much better start this year with his performance against East Carolina. Throwing the ball seemed to be the main focus for the Michigan offense, and McCarthy reaped the benefits, finishing with 280 yards and three touchdowns. He also completed 26 out of 30 passes, good for a completion percentage of 87.
With the game pretty much in hand, McCarthy played his final series at the end of the third quarter. This could be a sign of things to come this year, as we had previously heard of Michigan’s desire to throw the ball more in 2023, and more solid play from McCarthy only raises the ceiling of this team.
J.J. McCarthy played a great game, but it wouldn’t have been without the help of Roman Wilson. Wilson has been a contributor at receiver for the last two seasons, but with the departure of Ronnie Bell, he has the chance to really show out this season.
His first game as Michigan’s WR1 couldn’t have gone much better, as he was on the receiving end of all three of McCarthy’s touchdown passes. He would also finish the game with 78 yards and six receptions, both of those figures led the team. Wilson and McCarthy have shown a solid connection in the past, and if today’s game is any indication, it should only grow stronger.
With the suspensions of Jim Harbaugh and Sherrone Moore, Kirk Campbell was tasked with play calling duties for the season opener, and he didn’t disappoint. As previously mentioned, J.J. McCarthy and the passing attack seemed to be clicking on all cylinders throughout the three quarters that the starters were in the game. The ball was well distributed, as eight different players had receptions in the first three quarters, and the Wolverines were consistently able to find yards through the air. Campbell was also successfully able to adjust and steer away from the run when it wasn’t as effective early on.
Defensive Front Seven
Despite plenty of productive players leaving over the past few seasons, Michigan has always found a way to be dominant on the defensive front. It would appear that it’ll be that way again in 2023. Although no sacks were recorded with the starters in, Michigan consistently got pressure on Eastern Carolina’s quarterbacks, and pressure by sophomore Kenneth Grant led to a Mike Sainristil interception in the third quarter.
Additionally, Michigan’s linebackers and tackles were consistently able to snuff out the run, limiting the Pirates to 103 rushing yards on the game. Ernest Hausmann, Junior Colson, and Mike Barrett all impressed, registering six, five, and five tackles respectively.