MINNEAPOLIS – In his first real meaningful game action, Wilton Speight picked a perfect time to complete his first touchdown pass.
With Michigan trailing Minnesota late, Speight found a streaking Jehu Chesson for a 12-yard touchdown reception in the back of the end-zone, putting No. 15 Wolverines up for good, as they defeated Minnesota 29-26, taking home the Little Brown Jug back to Ann Arbor.
“Coach dialed up a really good play call, it had been hitting all week in practice,” Speight said of touchdown pass to Chesson. “(Jehu) and I love the call. Soon as ran into the huddle, I knew this was going to be a good one, a big gain or a touchdown. As soon as I saw the release and saw him give a jab, I knew it was going to be there.
“So I kind of let it rip.”
Speight, who had played sparingly in his U-M career, came in for U-M starter Jake Rudock mid-way through the third quarter. Rudock had left the game with an apparent back injury.
He would finish 3-of-6 for 29 yards and the lone TD score. He would also find Amara Darboh for 2-point conversion, which paid dividends in the end, says U-M coach Jim Harbaugh.
“He made a great play on a double post,” said Harbaugh, who made the decision to make Speight his No. 2 QB two weeks earlier. “He did an excellent job on the 2-pount conversion, that ended up being huge. (Minnesota is) probably kicking a field goal at the end if it wasn’t for that 2-point conversion. And he really had to step and make a play on that one.”
Adding: “Phenomenal thing for him, what a invaluable learning experience for Wilton Speight to get his first action and get a fourth quarter comeback in that kind of dramatic style."
The touchdown put Michigan up for good, but not without a little help from their defense, as the Wolverines withstood Mitch Leidner’s quarterback keeper to preserve the win at their own half-yard line as time expired.
Nevertheless, Speight says he was always prepared to come if need need be.
“That has been the plan so I was prepared for that," said Speight.