ANN ARBOR, Mich. – In an otherwise uneventful game, No 5 Michigan defeated UCF 51-14 today, as the Wolverines were too much for the Knights to handle.
But by no means, was it easy.
In fact, there were some good, bad and ugly things that stood out today in the win.
Speight Delvers Under Stress
Wilton Speigh's quarterback play continues to impress. He finished with 312 yards with four touchdown passes, while completing 25-of-37 passes, and led U-M on six touchdown drives.
But most importantly, he looked poised in the pocket. Unlike against Hawaii, UCF was able to put some heat on Speight in the pocket. He took some hits and got sacked twice, but never wavered. And make no mistake; he looks the part of U-Ms leader and general of its offense.
Special Teams Delivers
Michigan’s special teams unit delivered in all phases today. Chris Wormley deflected two UCF field goal attempts, Tyree Kinnel deflected a punt, and the kick off team recovered a fumble on a kickoff. Kenny Allen connected on all three of his field goal attempts (24,36, 37) and his first punt of the year went for 55 yards, and we’ll give him a pass on the botched punt in the third quarter.
And, of course, Jabrill Peppers came close, yet again, to scoring his first punt return touchdown. He took a return 35 yards, shaking a few UCF tacklers before stepping out at the UCF 12.
Rush Defense struggles with UCF speed
While the score doesn’t indicate the struggle, UCF’s spread style offense exposed some holes in U-M’s defense. The Wolverine rush defense gave up scoring runs of 87 and 34 yards, as the Knights gained an impressive 275 yards on the ground. In both cases, UCF’s runners were simply faster than U-M’s defenders, plus there were bad angles taken by Michigan, that’s something defensive coordinator Don Brown will need to address this coming week in practice.
QB Pressure Continues
While U-M’s rush defense struggled, the Wolverines front seven was able to put heat on the quarterback all game. U-M would total four sacks on the afternoon.
Oh yeah, that Rashan Gary guy, he’s going to be OK.
So it only took till his second game till for Gary to record his first sack, hold the press. But all kidding aside, the freshman star broke through the UCF line, crushed the quarterback with Ben Gedeon for the sack. He also finished with six tackles. So far, he’s worth the hype and some, and it’s only game two of his career.
Jake Butt Score Two TD’s
Michigan’s co-captain Jake Butt finished with two touchdown catches, giving him three already on the season. That’s huge, considering he had only three total as a junior. Butt finished with seven catches for 86 yards, so it appears he’s on his way to another All American season.
Lack of Rushing Attack
After gashing Hawaii for 306 yards on the ground, Michigan gained only 119 yards against UCF’s rush defense. The holes simply weren’t there today. U-M struggled to run through tackles. There were no home runs either; Chris Evans had the longest run for 18 yards. UCF pretty much held Michigan in check all game, which can be a cause for concern as U-M continues into Big Ten play in couple weeks. The run blocking must improve, period, if they are going to achieve their goals this year.
Besides that, however, U-M had its moments, including a few hard runs by De’Veon Smith, where the senior just carried UCF tacklers. Khalid Hill scored two more short yardage touchdowns, giving him three already on the season.