We received our first glimpse of the 2023 Michigan Wolverines on Saturday. The Maize defeated the Blue 22-21 to win the spring game.
Here are key takeaways from the offensive side of the ball.
A look at how Michigan’s quarterbacks performed
- Starting QB J.J. McCarthy saved his best for last in the spring game. McCarthy played the entire first half and had an interception on a ball that sailed on him in a windy environment. McCarthy was able to finish the first half on a positive note with a scoring drive featuring throws of 15 and 20 yards to Peyton O’Leary. McCarthy capped the drive off with a 5-yard pass to Jake Thaw. McCarthy was 7-of-10 for 84 yards with the one touchdown and interception.
- Indiana transfer Jack Tuttle started the game for the blue team and was 6-of-12 for 57 with an interception and a lost fumble. Turnovers are certainly something Tuttle will have to reel in, but there were positives to his performance as well. Tuttle did a really good job of stepping up in the pocket to evade pass rushers and get positive yards with his legs — Tuttle rushed for 28 yards. Tuttle told the media in March that he believes he has become more of a dual-threat quarterback as his career has progressed, and that was evident in the spring game.
- Davis Warren, who was Michigan’s backup last season after Cade McNamara’s injury in mid-September, was 8-of-13 for 163 yards. Warren had a consistent connection with his roommate Peyton O’Leary and it looks like the backup quarterback competition is wide open between him and Tuttle.
- Alex Orji had a great throw of 41 yards to Frederick Moore and was 4-of-6 for 47 yards and one touchdown pass. Orji, who’s known for his athleticism, also rushed for 19 yards.
Peyton O’Leary dominates
Receiver Peyton O’Leary was an absolute force. O’Leary caught 6 receptions for 126 yards and had a game winning two-point conversion reception for the Maize to put them up 22-21. O’Leary’s teammates call him Cooper Kupp, and he displayed great route running and reliable hands in the spring game. O’Leary could realistically see the field significantly more this season. If he can get open and catch the ball at a high rate, he will see the field.
Benjamin Hall, the next Hassan Haskins?
Running back Benjamin Hall was a wrecking ball for the Blue — rushing for 102 yards and one touchdown. Hall had an explosive run for 31 in the game and an even more impressive run where he went at it with multiple Michigan defenders and kept pushing them forward. Hall could wind up being a RB3 for the Wolverines this season behind Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards and be able to spell them if need be.
Other offensive standouts
- Frederick Moore hauled in 4 receptions for 62 yards, the high totals for the Blue team. Moore showed his speed on his 41-yard grab from Orji.
- Matthew Hibner, who will see steady amount of time on the field whether he’s Michigan’s TE2 or TE3 had two receptions for 62 yards. Hibner ran a great slant route that went for 51 yards. Hibner had good giddy-up in the open field and it would have been a touchdown if he didn’t stumble. The turf monster got him.
- Kalel Mullings had a few memorable power runs, and a long of 18, rushing for 35 in all with one goal-line touchdown. Mullings will likely see short-yardage carries in 2023.
- Leon Franklin had numerous opportunities throughout the game with 12 carries in all for 32 yards and two touchdowns, including a score that set up Maize to convert their two-point conversion and win the game.