ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Big catches. On a night and in a season when Michigan clamors for another wide receiver to pair with big play threat Devin Funchess, sophomore Amara Darboh delivered Saturday night in a huge win at home over Penn State.
Darboh finished the game with four catches for 66-yards. No, the numbers might not indicate a big time performance but that’s exactly what it was.
Establishing himself early in the game on a third and three on Michigan’s opening drive, Darboh made a leaping grab over a defender for 14-yards, landing hard on his back.
On Michigan’s next drive, senior quarterback Devin Gardner again hit Darboh on third down, this time third and 13 for a gain of 21-yards.
Early in the second quarter, Darboh again was on the receiving end of a Gardner pass on third and 11, that one for a gain of 20-yards.
Without Jehu Chesson against the Nittany Lions, Darboh proved a key cog in Michigan’s offensive approach.
“I’m a competitive person,” Darboh said. “Every time I step on the field I try to go out there and make plays.
“I felt like it was good to have a chance to make some plays and it was good to help the team get the win.”
If the third down situations were the biggest part of Darboh’s performance Saturday, the next impressive area came with the degree of difficulty on each catch.
Routinely adjusting to the football in the air, even stepping in front of cornerbacks in coverage, Darboh made a play as much as Gardner made the throw.
“With Devin and with any quarterback back there you kind of feel out like, you got to know the timing of it, the steps on the quarterback drop and you got to know when is the ball coming out,” Darboh said.
“If you’re pressed you maybe got to break it off a little bit earlier and stuff like that.”
Although Russell Bellomy was inserted into the game in the third quarter as Gardner dealt with a leg injury, Darboh says the wide receivers have all been working to help the quarterbacks out.
“As a receiving core we feel we’re very talented,” Darboh said. “With the players we have, yeah we try to build a confidence with Devin to let him know if he puts it up there we’re going to come down with it.”
Hoke Focused on Key Areas of Improvement
Injured Gardner Wills Michigan to Victory
Under The Lights: Michigan Tops Penn State, 18-13
Lewis' Interception Keys Michigan's Victory
Recap: Michigan Tops Penn State, 18-13