After the embarrassing and program perspective altering loss on the road to Notre Dame left Brady Hoke and his players scrambling to maintain respectability during the week, Miami of Ohio and their 18-game lossing streak came calling to Ann Arbor.
And for many fans and supporters, there couldn’t have been a better team for the Wolverines to play next.
Miami University’s last win came against a #23 ranked Ohio University team at home back on October 27th, 2012. But that didn’t stop the RedHawks from bringing their competitive spirit and high compete level.
Things started off well as the Wolverines got out to early 10-0 lead on a Matt Wile 29-yard field goal and then a Devin Gardner to Amara Darboh 17-yard TD grab. But thanks to three turnovers by the Wolverines (2 fumbles, 1 interception), Miami (Ohio) was able to tie the score at 10-10 halfway through the second quarter.
Sophomore running back Derrick Green finished the first half scoring on a 1-yard TD run that capped a 6-play, 66-yard drive. The Wolverines entered the locker room with a 17-10 lead and a tighter battle than many would have liked or expected.
Michigan scored first in the second half with their most efficient drive of the day moving the ball 63-yards in three plays ending with a Devin Gardner 29-yard TD pass to tight end Jake Butt who was streaming down the field alone. The Wolverine lead extended to 24-10.
From that point, it was a Michigan game. The RedHawks failed to score again as Michigan increased their lead to 31 utilizing a time consuming, 9-play, 68-yard drive lasting almost five minutes and ending with Green’s second touchdown scamper of the day, this time of 12-yards.
Michigan ended the scoring on tack-on Wile 40-yard boot.
The Wolverine defense prevented Miami (Ohio) of ever getting a ground-game established as the RedHawks only managed to rush the ball 24 times for 33 yards. Michigan conversely ran it 45 yards for 276 yards.
Derrick Green finished the day with his two scores and 137 yards on 22 carries to lead the Wolverines.
Michigan’s leading receiver on the day was sophomore Amara Darboh and his 6 grabs for 66 yards with one TD.
In the end, the Wolverines found some offensive rhythm in the second half, eliminated their turnovers and finished the game with Gardner resting on the sideline. Gardner finished his day with 13 completions on 20 attempts for 184 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
Next week a greater test comes to Ann Arbor as the 2-0 Utah Utes from the Pac-12 pay visit to The Big House. It will be interesting to see if a performance equal to the one competed against a now winless-in-19-tries Ohio team will be good enough to earn the Wolverines their third victory of the year heading into Big Ten play.
Wolverines’ leading receiver junior Devin Funchess was held out of the game with an undisclosed leg injury suffered late in the game against Notre Dame.