Michigan Football moved to 1-0 on the season with their 33-17 win over the Florida Gators. It is weird to describe the game as a “drubbing,” but that is pretty much exactly what it was.
The only thing that got in the way of the Wolverines on Saturday was themselves. Regardless, here are the takeaways from the win:
Speight wasn’t great
Wilton Speight, as expected, started the game at quarterback for the Wolverines. And it looked an awful lot like it did during his last few starts in 2016.
He missed high on several throws and had two interceptions that were both returned for touchdowns by the Gators, which would be the only times they reached the end-zone all day (except for that time Malik Zaire was demolished in his own end-zone).
Speight has work to do, but he is still the best option for this team and the best quarterback on the roster. John O’Korn did get some run after the second interception, but that apparently was planned by the team.
He would finish the day 11-for-25 with 181 yards to go along with one touchdown and the two pick-sixes. That is not good enough, but he did calm down in the second half.
It will have to get better and with Jim Harbaugh’s track record, that should be the expectation.
The defense is scary and as good as advertised
All we heard all offseason long is how the defense would take a step back because of all of the players they lost from last season to the NFL. Well, that does not appear to be a big concern.
There will be some growing pains with this unit on the back end of the defense, as we saw early on with Felipe Franks completed a long pass on the first drive of the game. But this unit is terrifying and insanely athletic.
The defense held the Gators to only 192 yards of total offense and a grand total of 11 yards rushing. They would finish the day with six sacks and 11 tackles for loss.
Rashan Gary, Devin Bush and Maurice Hurst were the biggest standouts on that side of the ball, but everyone made their fair share of plays. Chase Winovich and Noah Furbush got to Zaire for a sack-fumble touchdown late in the game that put an exclamation point on the victory.
Florida may not wind up being all that good offensively, but when you go out and suck the soul out of a team to where their coach is staring at cameras like a deer in the headlights after the game, you did your job.
“Dr. Blitz” Don Brown has the horses to run the defense he wants to and even with the inexperience, they looked downright scary against the Gators.
Freshman wide receivers
Today was many people’s first chance to see guys like Tarik Black and Donovan Peoples-Jones on the field, the former of which was the standout on Saturday. He had a 46-yard touchdown and 83 yards total on the game.
We did not see Peoples-Jones catch his first collegiate pass, but he did have some chances in the return game and showed flashes of why the team feels like they have a special athlete there.
It would have been nice to get more of a look at those guys, but with the way the passing game performed overall, it did not happen this week.
Ty Isaac’s case for lead back
Chris Evans is a special athlete, but it was Ty Isaac who turned the most heads on Saturday in the run game. Michigan ran for 215 total yards, which is something they struggled to do against the best defenses they played in 2016.
Isaac had 11 rushes for 114 yards and ran hard all day long. It is likely that the team uses him and Evans as a close to 50-50 split in terms of carries/production, but he flashed the traits that made him a five-star recruit coming out of high school.
Nordin’s big leg
When is the last time Michigan had a kicker who had the skill-set to make the longest kicks at this level? They do now in Quinn Nordin.
He missed the last two attempts that he tried, but Nordin is the first Michigan kicker in program history to hit two 50-yard or more field goals in a single game.
- They had several chances to put this game away on the offensive side of the ball in the second half, but couldn’t. That has plagued this program in recent years and this could actually end up being beneficial for this young team.
- Grant Perry had the most productive day at wide receiver with four catches for 46 yards, but drew a boneheaded penalty for spinning the ball after a first down. Then, he did it again later in the game and got away with it. Probably not the best thing for a guy that is still in the process of exiting Harbaugh’s dog house.
- This is too good not to share:
What were your takeaways from Saturday’s game? Sound off in the comments below!