It appeared early in the game that Michigan was headed for disaster.
However, whether it was by luck or realizing the game had actually started, the Wolverines (3-0) stared down adversity and answered it by defeating Colorado 45-28 on Saturday.
The first quarter could not have gotten off to a worse start for the Wolverines. Allowing the Buffaloes to storm down the field for an early score, U-M quarterback Wilton Speight was hit hard and fumbled, which was returned for a touchdown as the Wolverines spotted Colorado 14 points early in the first quarter.
Coming off a solid week the game before, the special teams once again were special as safety Delano Hill blocked a punt deep in Colorado territory which bounced around and picked up by receiver Grant Perry for the Wolverines' first score of the game. The bouncing football was oddly symbolic for the game, as it had many twists and turns throughout.
In a mixture of poor kicking and excellent special teams play for the Wolverines, it allowed U-M to get right back in the game.
The defense, however, was not on its game early. The defense looked out of place and was vulnerable to give up the big play, as Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau finished the first half with 167 yards and two touchdowns. Liufau would have to leave the game in the second half with an injury.
Despite the defense struggling at times, the Wolverines were able to stop the bleeding somewhat, but shutting out the Colorado defense in the second quarter. A 45 yard touchdown run and catch by receiver Amara Darboh put the Wolverines on top 24-21 at the half.
With momentum fully in the Wolverines' corner, Colorado bounced back in a big way with a 70 yard touchdown pass to put the Buffaloes on top 28-24. In typical U-M fashion, it answered the punch with a touchdown of its own and never looked back.
Liufau's absence really harmed Colorado's chances to answer back, as the Buffaloes were not able to get anything of substance on offense with back-up quarterback Jay MacIntyre couldn't get much done.
Despite being outplayed and outgained for a good portion of the first half, the Wolverines outgained Colorado 397-323.
Speight, who had been impressive in his first two career starts, did not have the best of days. Finishing the day with 229 yards and one touchdown, he had some questionable decisions and was close to throwing a handful of interceptions.
The player of the game, by far, was star Jabrill Peppers. Peppers had the game of his life making an impact on defense with nine tackles, one sack and tacking on a 54 yard punt return for a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.
The Wolverines open up Big Ten play next weekend as it welcomes Penn State to Michigan Stadium.null