Michigan 33, Florida 17

Submitted by Ace on September 2nd, 2017 at 7:43 PM


Ty Isaac repeatedly broke into the open field. [Chris Cook]

The score doesn't do it justice.

Outside of two no good, very bad plays, Michigan put it on Florida. The Gators offense had no answer for Don Brown's defensive strategy, which was to bring heat from all angles around a three-man line, eschewing a DT in favor of speed an unpredictability. Two first-half pick-sixes by Wilton Speight, a bizarre illegal formation penalty that negated Michigan's first touchdown, and a blocked punt not only kept Florida around, however, but allowed them to take a 17-13 lead into halftime.

Eventually, the score reflected Michigan's dominance. The offense turned up the tempo on their opening drive of the second half, springing Ty Isaac free for 18 yards on a fourth-and-one to set up a Karan Higdon touchdown plunge. While the offense could only muster two Quinn Nordin field goals—and two Nordin missses—after that score, the defense hardly required help. They held the Gators to a total of 192 yards and capped the scoring when Noah Furbush dove on a fumble forced by Chase Winovich in the end zone.

Yes, the defense technically returned only one starter, and that starter, Mike McCray, missed a couple series early for reasons unclear. They hardly missed a beat, stiffening up in the red zone to hold Florida to a field goal on their first drive of the game, then outscoring UF's offense 7-0 the rest of the way. Maurice Hurst, Rashan Gary, and Chase Winovich made a three-man line feel a whole lot like a four-man line to the Florida offensive front; linebackers Devin Bush and Khaleke Hudson often flew into the backfield unimpeded; the young secondary didn't let anything get over the top. Michigan finished with six sacks, 11 TFLs, four forced fumbles (one on special teams on a great rip by Ambry Thomas), and five pass breakups. They were aggressive. Florida had problems.


Chase Winovich's strip-sack effectively ended the game. [Cook]

The offense would've fared nearly as well if not for those two Speight interceptions; the first bounced right to Duke Dawson off the hands of Kekoa Crawford, and the other sailed over an open Grant Perry into the hands of CJ Henderson on the ensuing possession. The next two drives were turned over to John O'Korn, who could only get Michigan into position for a 55-yard Quinn Nordin field goal.

Save for that stretch, Michigan moved the ball with regularity against a strong UF defense. Running back Ty Isaac put forth the best performance, rushing for 114 yards on only 11 carries, repeatedly breaking into the secondary as the coaches dialed up running plays on passing downs. With sacks removed, Michigan ran for 6.1 yards per carry, which kept the offense moving despite an uneven day in the passing game.

We saw flashes of what the aerial attack can look like. Tarik Black exploited a Florida bust for his first career receiving touchdown in the first half and added an impressive catch from O'Korn down the sideline; Grant Perry had a couple tough catches over the middle; Sean McKeon picked up a couple first downs on catch-and-runs; Nick Eubanks had a big play up the seam late to help seal the game. There are a lot of weapons, and while many of them are still getting acclimated to college ball, it's easy to see the potential.

Michigan overcame some self-inflicted adversity to get past their first of four major tests slated for this regular season. The next one, at Penn State, doesn't occur until mid-October. If the Wolverines hold this form while cleaning up some of the more heart-stopping mistakes, they have a great chance of heading into that game 6-0. Consecutive home games against Cincinnati and Air Force should allow them to carry this momentum into conference play.

Comments

Double-D

September 3rd, 2017 at 1:03 AM ^

20 vs the 50 and changed the complexion of the game. From the 50 we are rolling their asses downhill. But no....Mr selfish motherfucker puts us back on the 20 with his personal foul. Next play pick six...which should never have happened but for him.

Perry is damn good. He is running out of I'm an asshole chances in my opinion.

Goggles Paisano

September 3rd, 2017 at 5:52 AM ^

That penalty was bullshit.  I'm so tired of the refs taking emotion out of the game.  He did it later in the game after another reception (wasn't as aggressive as the first) but it didn't get flagged.  I don't think "selfish" was the issue here.  That seemed to be a habit or a reflex that he will need to break.  

 

His Dudeness

September 3rd, 2017 at 9:32 AM ^

What? He spun the ball after a catch... I've never seen that called a penalty anywhere at any level of football. It's not as though he leaped up slashed his throat and chucked the ball into the stands. If that is in fact a new rule it's the dumbest thing I've seen in a while. What's the problem ?

p48155

September 3rd, 2017 at 12:29 PM ^

That's exactly what I said to my mate. Perry changed the whole complexion of the half, instead of ramming it down the gator gullet and starting the blowout process they took the lead. Yes, the new celebration rules suck but these guys gotta stop acting like each play they make is one for the ages. When a defensive player sacks the qb or a receiver scores a td they need to act like they've done it before.

Don

September 3rd, 2017 at 1:38 PM ^

That's the problem I have with it—it was a garden-variety catch in the middle of a game—it didn't clinch the victory, let alone a conference championship or a playoff game. Just hand the ball to the fucking ref and focus on the next play instead of trying to call additional attention to yourself with a juvenile display that is completely irrelevant to beating the opponent.

That shouldn't be a 15-yarder though—at most it should be a five-yard delay of game penalty. 

mgoblue98

September 3rd, 2017 at 2:21 AM ^

don't think Speight will make or break the team.  He certainly needs to be better, but what was lacking last year was a dominant offensive line that could close games late.  The line is certainly a work in progress and the make-up may look a different by seasons end in terms of who is starting.  I am interested to see the UFR as it appeared that Ulizio had some breakdowns in the run game and pass pro.

 

Squash34

September 3rd, 2017 at 1:34 AM ^

I lean more to make us. not to say he was perfect, when he missed tht wheel route with no one arounrd i let out eough f bombs to have my wife tell me to calm down. But i really think the offense will progess as a whole and Speight can be the qb to gt them there.

Maizenblueball

September 2nd, 2017 at 7:49 PM ^

Great win for Michigan!  The final score doesn't truly reflect how dominant Michigan was over Florida.  I'm happy to see that we were able to run the ball so effectively.

Good win to start the season!