Welcome back everyone! It was a glorious day in the Big House as the Wolverines started the season with a bang, or better yet a punt block returned for a touchdown and never looked back despite a few mistakes early in the day. On the whole the team looked totally in control in their first game on the field of play, even if it was against an overmatched opponent.
Central Michigan could only manage 3 field goals despite drives that started at the Michigan 6 and 29 after interceptions thrown by Devin Gardner. The defense stepped up and looked solid after these turnovers and I’m looking forward to a true test of the defense next week as we measure ourselves up to the Irish.
Although I think the Wolverines ended up looking pretty good in just about every facet of the game, it was not without a few early jitters. On the first possession for Central, Blake Countess looked a little rusty after being out all of last year with a torn ACL. The first play went his way for 17 yards and then a pass that was thrown short to his side missed a wide open receiver. Here are a few pictures of what I saw from Section 9.
In this series, Countess is off balance on the break, then overruns and misses the tackle.
Just a few plays later he gets sucked inside and the receiver on the outside is all alone. Fortunately a poor throw from the CMU quarterback left this incomplete rather than as a touchdown pass.
Devin Gardner also started out a little rusty. He threw an interception at his own 6 yard line after staring down his receiver, and then later threw up a classic Denard Robinson heave that Jeremy Gallon couldn’t catch up to and the defender, who was deep all the way, easily intercepted. On the ground Devin was definitely at home and he shook off his early passing cobwebs to go 10-15 for 162 yards and 1 TD. In this next picture he carries the ball in for a TD on a nice run.
Dileo caught this pass coming across the middle as he got lost in the defense. It was a good gain, but I wish he had Norfleet’s speed!
Overall, the offense was very solid and the running game racked up 252 yards with several gains of more than 20 yards. The offensive line seemed to open holes at will and was able to protect Gardner as well in passing situations. I don’t want to be overly optimistic, but I came out of this game feeling much better about the state of the offensive line, especially in the run game. Here Norfleet has a nice run on the reverse with some great line blocking and a nice lead block by Gardner.
Fitz Toussaint looked healthy, and he ran well early in traffic, although I felt like he got tentative later (see the things to work on).
Even De’Veon Smith got in the action late in the game with this carry.
On defense the line also looked solid and the holes seemed to always be filled by a linebacker to stuff the run. Frank Clark managed to attract a lot of attention, allowing others to get free. Central did manage to keep him off the board as far as tackles and sacks go, but his presence was definitely felt. Desmond Morgan led the day in tackles including filling the hole on this play to stuff Tipton right in the hole.
Here Frank Clark gets to the QB, while Quinton Washington gets a hand up to disrupt the pass.
Special teams were solid all around starting with blocking the punt and returning it for a TD. Norfleet had a close call with a punt that he decided to try to field as it was bounding past him headed for the coffin corner. One of his teammates covered the ball and kept his miscue from becoming another scoring opportunity for the Chippewas. Gibbons set the record for consecutive XP’s made at over 100, while Matt Wile averaged 64.6 yards per kickoff and Kenny Allen had 1 punt of 51 yards. There were no obvious blocking issues or coverage issues on the kicks. All in all a very solid performance. And here’s the final scoreboard picture.
I’m looking forward to next week and we’ll really set the tone for the rest of the season as we experience Under The Lights 2 against the Irish. Hope to see you there.
In the meantime, enjoy the rest of these pictures, and be sure to share this website with your friends!
The new student seating plan sure seemed to work:
Did we get an inch more? Or, an inch less?
New Stadium Features:
The Columns under the stands on the west side are nicely decorated with pictures like this one of Desmond Howard. Watch for more shots to come!
Also under the stands on the west side are several of these displays recognizing Michigan’s National Championships.
Strange plays caught on film:
On this play a CMU helmet came flying out of the pile, #47 heads to dive on it until he realizes it’s a helmet. Wait, is Denard on the field? There’s a shoe left behind as well!
and then left the stadium via jetpack.
Things to work on:
A few plays later, he completes this pass, but looking at his feet, it was totally an arm throw. He’ll need to work on the footwork.
While Fitz looked good early, this is the Fitz we saw last year. He takes the ball from Gardner and he’s flat footed. He should be accelerating towards the hole, not standing there. He’s such a different back when he runs aggressively.