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Turning Point: Michigan-Middle Tennessee State

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An open man in the end zone led to the turning point of Week 1

After an off-season that felt like an eternity in length, the Michigan football season is underway. And on Saturday night at The Big House, it wasn’t an optimal start for the Wolverines. The game may have ended up a 40-21 Michigan victory, but it was close early on.

The game got off to just about as bad of a start as possible for Michigan on offense to start the season. One play, one turnover. A Shea Patterson fumble on a scramble where he didn’t protect the ball well enough with defenders closing in on him.

A few plays after the Patterson fumble, MTSU quarterback Asher O’Hara scrambled for a score to put the Blue Raiders up 7-0. For Middle Tennessee, that looked like their turning point, a mistake they capitalized on that provided a quick lead and the momentum that goes along with it.

Michigan’s offense took a while to get going, and with most of the first quarter in the bag, all the Wolverines could muster were 3 points. However, on Michigan’s last drive in the 1st, the turning point occurred.

Michigan’s offense came onto the field with just 39 yards to go to the end-zone (a short MTSU punt), and on the second play of the drive with 21 seconds left in the 1st, Patterson found a wide open Tarik Black for a 36-yard strike.

After Black’s score, the momentum swung back in Michigan’s favor, and Patterson winded up racking up two more touchdowns, a 28-yard strike to Nico Collins, and a 28-yarder to Sean McKeon down the seam.

The Black touchdown led to more of a willingness to take shots of over fifteen yards down the field for the rest of the game. Granted, the Michigan offense had its ups and downs against MTSU, but a string of positive drives led to having a sustainable lead they never relinquished. And Patterson’s throw to Black is what got Michigan moving in the right direction.

How do you feel about the offense’s performance? Sound off in the comments