Early in the first game of the season for the Michigan Wolverines, the final outcome was anything but certain. The home-team Minnesota Golden Gophers landed a couple blows on Michigan in the game’s first minutes.
After a screen pass to Blake Corum went for 23 yards on the first play of the game, Michigan’s drive would stall and end with an unsportsman like conduct penalty against Ben Mason followed by Joe Milton getting sacked. This led to a routine punt attempt, except it was anything but routine.
Will Hart’s punt was blocked and set up Minnesota’s offense in the red zone. And the Golden Gophers didn’t waste anytime capitalizing on the mistake. On the second play of the drive, QB Tanner Morgan found Ko Kieft for a 14-yard touchdown. Moments like these can give all the momentum in the world to the home team and it was in Michigan’s best interest to answer back quickly. And answer back quickly they did.
Enter this week’s turning point.
On the first play of the following drive, a gaping hole was created and running back Zach Charbonnet went 70 yards to the house.
“The long one, the first one that Zach got, their defense was misaligned and we were able to get Chuck Filiaga—I think he blocked the backside safety from what I was looking at,” head coach Jim Harbaugh said. “You don’t expect that but great job by Chuck to get up on the backside safety and make that thing go the distance.”
Michigan wouldn’t punt the rest of the game, and after a challenging first few minutes of the game, Charbonnet’s run tied things up and energized the Michigan team the rest of the day en route to their 49-24 victory.