It wasn't pretty but Michigan got the job done.
Heading into the fourth quarter tied at seven, the No. 4 Wolverines (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten East) turned on the jets when it mattered most and grounded out a tough, gritty, victory over No. 8 Wisconsin 14-7 on Saturday.
With just under eight minutes left in the game, U-M quarterback Wilton Speight, who found himself face-to-face with Wisconsin defenders often, stepped up and delivered a 46-yard pass to wide receiver Amara Darboh for a touchdown to give the Wolverines the long-awaited lead. It was all it needed to hold on.
Speight finished the game 20-32 for 219 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Speight was also sacked four times, U-M head coach Jim Harbaugh added that the offensive line didn't give Speight the opportunity to succeed with the amount of Badgers defenders getting through.
Looking at the statistical breakdown, one would think that U-M dominated the scoreboard as it out gained the Badgers 349-159. Not so fast, couple the yardage discrepancies between the two teams and the Wolverines leaving approximately nine points on the field due to missed field goals, the Badgers hung around with a stingy defense and opportune plays.
While the Badgers made opportune plays themselves, the Wolverines answered the call at every turn especially on the defensive side of the football. U-M forced redshirt freshman quarterback Alex Hornibrook into three interceptions, with one from Jourdan Lewis that will likely go down in U-M lore as being one of the most memorable interceptions in memory, and two from Channing Stribling.
It seemed the Wolverines hung on to a 7-0 lead for an eternity, adding a one yard score from fullback Khalid Hill in the second quarter to get out in front. The Badgers answered in the third with a 17 yard touchdown pass. After a few failed drives, the Wolverines turned up the heat in the fourth quarter and finished the game off strong.
The Wolverines head to New Jersey next weekend to take on Rutgers under the lights.
- Saturday's game marked the first time since 2008 that Michigan has defeated a top-10 team.
- After the game, head coach Jim Harbaugh said that the apparent injury to offensive lineman Grant Newson 'doesn't look good' and that a surgical procedure is likely.