ANN ARBOR—Giving as much credit as possible to an Akron team that came to Ann Arbor ready to play Michigan on Saturday was a priority for the Wolverines following their 28-24, escape of disaster against the Zips.
Even so, Michigan’s players couldn’t help but look at themselves afterward, knowing, and believing, that the team had a major emotional letdown in week three that nearly cost them what would’ve been a disastrous, early season loss.
“I don’t think you can really expect anything coming into a game,” Michigan junior linebacker Brennen Beyer said. “You’ve got to treat every opponent the same and I think we need to prepare better in practice, know what our job is, and execute it better than we did this week.”
“Tuesday and Wednesday we had back-to-back 90-degree days and some of the guys were kind of lacking,” senior safety Thomas Gordon added. “But (Beyer is) absolutely right, it’s leadership. We preach it all week. Obviously it was different circumstances today -- we didn’t execute.”
Beyer’s stats on the box score from Akron: two tackles, one pass break-up, two quarterback hurries.
When it counted most, Beyer came up huge for the Wolverines. On the final play of the game, Akron trailing 28-24 and looking at a fourth and three from the Michigan four, Beyer was sent on a blitz up the middle, rushing a throw from Zips’ quarterback Kyle Pohl and getting a hand on his arm mid-release as the pass sailed incomplete into the end zone.
“I was blitzing right up the middle and to my surprised it open just wide up,” Beyer said. “I think Jibreel did a good job of opening that gap wide up so I just tried to get to the quarterback as fast as I could and I felt like he was going to throw it so I tried to get a hand on the ball.”
Young corners get their shot
Saturday, it was time for Jourdan Lewis to make his presence felt.
A fellow Detroit Cass Tech high school alum, Gordon took great pleasure watching true Lewis hit the field in key situations at cornerback for the Michigan on Saturday and although Lewis did get beat deep, there’s a reason he received the opportunity.
“J.D., he had one big play against him,” he said. “But overall, I think they’re doing a good job.
“They deserve to be out there. In practice, they practice hard and their coaches trust them enough to put them on the field.”
To watch video of Beyer and Gordon, press play below.