Huge first quarter sparks Michigan's big 38-0 victory over Northwestern

A big first quarter was the spark in Michigan's 38-0 victory over Northwester.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The game couldn't start any better for Michigan.

Fueled by a huge first quarter, the Wolverines (5-1, 2-0 Big Ten) never looked back as the running game once again propelled the team to a 38-0 victory over Northwestern.

The game started with a spark after U-M receiver Jehu Chesson took the opening kickoff 96 yards to the house to open the scoring for the Wolverines. U-M's very next drive would light the flames that would engulf the Wildcats (5-1, 1-1 Big Ten) by storming down the field once again. The drive was capped with a one-yard touchdown run by Drake Johnson to stretch its lead to 14 points.

"I am pleased with the team in all three phases," head coach Jim Harbaugh said. "All three phases had great success today. Special teams, starting with the kickoff return for a touchdown, defense had a shutout, offense played really good football. The fellas really came out balling right from the start and had a heck of a ballgame."

The hits kept coming, especially in the first quarter.

U-M quarterback Jake Rudock would score on a two-yard keeper to make the score 21-0. The Wolverines outgained Northwestern 149-56 in the electrifying first quarter.

The U-M defense also had a say in the scoring late in the second quarter as well. After Jabrill Peppers drops an easy interception, the very next play cornerback Jourdan Lewis stole the ball from a receiver and took it for a touchdown to give the Wolverines 28 unanswered points.

"Execution fuels emotion, fuels confidence," Harbaugh said. "I expect that they would be confident and that they understand that the execution does fuel that. Best way to have good execution is good preparation. It's probably the most exciting thing about our team, they like that part of it. They like to work, blue-collar way of doing things. We'll be at it again this week."

A field goal and a four-yard touchdown by Derrick Green stretch made the score 38-0.

The Wolverine defense was once again the story. Not only holding its opponent under 200 yards but also securing its third-straight shut-out, the first time the program has done that since 1980.

U-M finished the game with 203 yards rushing and 179 yards passing.

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