OK so let’s just get this out of the way now. I am a Michigan fan. Have been my entire life. So don’t waste time stating the obvious by calling me a “homer” when you and I both know that I am. I bleed maize and blue, hail only to the victors valiant, drink lots of milk, and am supported by the M club.
That being said… Michigan just blew the brakes off Florida.
The disrespect is crazy… I can’t wait till we beat the brakes off Michigan 😤
— Mark Thompson (@InMarkWeTrust) July 17, 2017
The final score was 33-17. Florida hadn’t lost a home opener since 1989. Neither team’s roster has a player who was alive the last time Florida lost a home opener. This is the team Tebow drove to the promised land. That built Spurrier’s legendary career. That was “going to work harder than any other team” out there.
I understand that the Gators had like, half of their team suspended. But just like staying healthy is a skill, keeping players on the team is a skill that’s necessary for the game. Michigan keeps their best players on the field. Simple at that.
My five takeaways:
1. Wilton Speight: Other than 2 pick-sixes from Wilt “My passes are so crisp and I’m so above the defense that I look like I’m playing on stilts” Speight early on, Florida couldn’t stop the passing game. Speight came out shaky, sure, but last year he did basically the same thing and only got better as the season went. After the start of the second half, the guy looked like another Michigan man than I’m quite fond of…*cough* Tom Brady *cough*.
Speight finished 11-for-25 for 181 yards and a TD, with most of the production coming after halftime.
2. The Running Game: Florida couldn’t stop Ty Isaac and the running game, either, which looked to be the best that I’ve seen it in a few seasons. They picked up much-needed yards on important downs and broke into the open field for big gains.
Isaac barreled for 114 yards on only 11 carries, with a couple 10+ yard gains. And Chris Evans (we have to call him Capt. America, right?) was no slouch either, getting a majority of the carries (22) for a solid chunk of much-needed yards (78).
3. Jim Harbaugh: Since Rich “the bitch” Rodriguez and Brady “the joke” Hoke essentially ruined the Wolverines for awhile there, I’m glad they’re getting back to ground-and-pound then toss it down football under my favorite football coach since Lloyd Carr. Harbaugh is fun as hell to watch on the sidelines. I love when he freaks out about stuff.
He’s clearly got a plan to attack the Big Ten with ferocious abandon and sharp acumen. I’m stoked, especially in a year when everyone’s only talking about Ohio State being a lock, Penn State being good again, and Wisconsin wrapping things up in the Big Ten West. Keep underestimating the maize and blue, I’m more than OK with letting Michigan swoop in under the radar. Not like they’re ranked 11th in the country or anything, and just molly-whopped a Top 25 team.
4. The defense: The defense allowed only 3 points, and completely swallowed up everything Florida had to throw at them. That’s a huge step, considering even I thought they might take a leap backward after losing a couple key playmakers in Jabrill Peppers, Taco Charlton, and Jourdan Lewis. But, McCray looked great as a defensive leader and Rashan Gary really showed up in his first real start as a Wolverine. So did Devin Bush, a sophomore linebacker who was all over the field, finishing with 7 tackles.
Exciting stuff, especially from the D-line. They held Florida to all of 11 rushing yards on 27 carries, and Malik Zaire to only 106 yards and no TDs. That’s lock-up D, and it’s only going to be more important as the season goes on.
5. The Kicking Game: Shouts to Quinn Nordin, the first kicker in Michigan history to nail two 50-yarders in a game, in his first start no less! The kid looked like Adam Vinateri mixed with the Polish Cannon out there. Missed a pair of long ones later in the game, but hey, 4-for-6 is fine by me at that distance. I’ll take 15 points from a kicker any day, especially with the inconsistency Michigan has suffered from the kicking game in recent years.
All in all, I’m excited for this season. We’re coming for the Big Ten title, so watch your back, Buckeyes. On to Cincinnati…