First Impressions: Michigan 38 Western MI 21

Steve Clarke gives his initial look from the stands in Section 7

The defense bent, but did not break. The Michigan defense, who last year could not put much pressure on the quarterback earned nine sacks for 66 yards. Nine different defenders recorded at least a half a sack. Jake Frysinger led the team with two.

The defense also gave up 379 yds passing to Bronco quarterback Jeff Welsh. But once in the red zone the Wolverine Defense stepped up. Western's first two trip inside the 20 came up with no points.

(Since my impressions are from the stands, don't hold me to all the facts)

BJ Askew was the player of the game though. He had 3 touchdowns and rushed for 112 yds, both career highs. He caught a team high five balls for 66 yds. He fought very hard for those extra yds, and made an incredible cut back across the field on a 26 yd TD score.

John Navarre was sharp at times completing 16 of 28 passes for 240 yds with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Some of his short throws were off the mark, but his down field passes were incredibly percise for the most part. It was nice to see Jermaine Gonzalez get in the game long enough to engineer Michigan's last touchdown. He does the waggle well, and was much more poised than he was in the Spring game.

Did anyone catch Hayden Epstein not kicking-off or punt. Phillip Brabbs #34 kicked the ball off, and Adam Finley #85 punted. RB Chris Perry left the game with ice wrapped on his knee. Don't fret too much. It's my impression that serious knee injuries usually mean the player is put on the cart and driven through the tunnel.

Western's attempt to score on the final play shouldn't be criticized. Neither should Michigan for calling a time-out. I'm sure the fans wanted to go home, but there wasn't anything unsportsmanlike in that situation.

I counted 13 penalties for Michigan. That's way too many. Many of those penalties were because of a lack of focus, but neither team played flat.

Lastly the halftime show should have been watched by the players. I know that is improbable, but it was vey moving. The moment of silence at the beginning was marred only by a cell phone going off several sections away. It was impressive that not one person in over one hundred thousand decided not to be an idiot

I'll have a lot more to say about some of the questionable calls and the details of the game tomorrow. Like the coaches, I now have to study the film.


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