Michigan Struggles Past Purdue

There was to be no fumble by Will Carr, and no 18 point Purdue comeback, as Michigan won its first game at Ross Ade Stadium since 1994. It may not have been the best looking performance, but the Wolverines survived with a 23-21 victory.

One of the Wolverines' biggest defensive goals of the off-season was to create more turnovers. For a time, it appeared that Michigan would go for a second straight game without meeting that goal. But thanks to two big interceptions in the last six minutes, the Wolverines were able to survive the late game comeback by the upset minded Boilermakers.

Michigan pulled ahead by nine points in the forth quarter, thanks to a 34 yard reverse by Calvin Bell. Purdue freshman quarterback Brandon Kirsch was pulled, and veteran Kyle Orton was inserted to attempt the big comeback for the Boilers. For a time, it appeared that he might have success, effectively driving Purdue into Michigan territory. But a big interception by cornerback Markus Curry halted that drive.

However, with the ball inexplicably marked on the one yard line, Michigan was unable to get out of the shadow of their endzone, and was forced to punt the ball. Then Wolverine linebacker Zack Kaufman came up with a big interception of his own, allowing Michigan to deplete Purdue of their timeouts and of time remaining. The Boilermakers managed a touchdown with eight seconds left in the game, to pull within two points, but a failed onside kick effectively ended the game.

John Navarre lead the Wolverines, completing 17 of 35 passes for 271 yards and a touchdown. Ronald Bellamy was his favorite target, pulling in 7 catches for 81 yards. Chris Perry added 73 yards on 16 carries, despite a leg injury suffered in the first half of the game.

Redshirt freshman Matt Lentz and Adam Stenavich did not make the trip due to mid-week injuries, and the offensive line struggled at times as a result. However, the real concern for Lloyd Carr and his staff will be the play of the defense, which had trouble defending the pass, before coming up big at the end of the game. Even more concerning was the successful running of quarterback Brandon Kirsch. Facing a potent Iowa offense, and a very mobile quarterback in Brad Banks next week, the Michigan defense will need to regain its focus, and hopefully get healthy(!), this week.

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