A two-point conversion short...

The No. 24-ranked Michigan football team fell to 0-1 on the new season with a 25-23 loss to the visiting Utah Utes on Saturday afternoon in Ann Arbor. Trailing 22-10 at the half, Michigan came just short as Steven Threet's two-point conversion attempt with six minutes left fell incomplete in the back of the Utah end zone.

ANN ARBOR – The Wolverines came up just short.

In the season-opener in Ann Arbor at Michigan Stadium, the No. 24-ranked Wolverines came away a two-point conversion away from forcing a possible overtime against the Utah Utes. Instead the Wolverines fell to 0-1 with a 25-23 loss to the visitors from the Mountain West Conference.

The Michigan offense struggled throughout the entire contest netting just 11 first downs, four of them coming as a result of Utah penalties. Starting quarterback Nick Sheridan, and third quarter replacement Steven Threet, combined to connect on just 50% of their passes. Each quarterback threw for one score. Sheridan threw the only Michigan interception of the contest, a critical late first half mistake that set the stage for Utah to add to its first half lead with a last second touchdown strike.

"We were going to play them both," Rodriguez said on his quarterbacks shortly after the game. "I thought Nick was competing hard, it's hard to judge them without really watching the film. Steve came in and gave us a lift. He made a few plays. There are a few things that I'm sure both of them would want to have back, but at the same time I thought they did a pretty good job for their first time out there."

Despite Michigan jumping out first in front of a raucous home crowd, the first half belonged to Utah.

Michigan's first and only lead of the game came resulting from its second possession of the game. Utah wide receiver Jerome Brooks fumbled the first of Michigan's first half punts, and four plays later Michigan hit pay dirt. Freshman Michael Shaw was on the receiving end of the Nick Sheridan touchdown pass. Shaw took a pass out of the backfield and scrambled into the right side of the end zone for the first score.

Utah answered and trimmed the lead to 7-6 with a 75-yard touchdown run just minutes later. Sparked by a critical 3rd-and-19 connection to move inside the Michigan red zone, Corbin Louks rolled left and found the corner pylon. Terrance Taylor blocked the ensuing extra point.

Michigan would add only three more points the remainder of the half. After a penalty gave Michigan a first down at midfield, Michigan managed to muster just a 50-yard field goal from K.C. Lopata.

Utah, meanwhile, continued to roll up the yardage. Quarterback Brian Johnson continued to move the chains for the Utes again and again. After field goals of 28, 43 and 41 from All-American kicker Louie Sakoda, Johnson then found the end zone following a late Nick Sheridan interception to give Utah a comfortable 22-10 lead at the half.

"In the first half I thought Utah controlled the game with their quick passing game," Rodriguez continued. "They had our defense on its heels a little bit. That got adjusted for the second half and we got some momentum going and didn't quit, but we just didn't execute."

The Michigan defense limited Utah to just 28 yards of offense in the second half, but the offense was never able to get on track. After a handoff exchange fumble between Sheridan and freshman running back Sam McGuffie, the Michigan defense recorded its first turnover of the second half, an Obi Ezeh interception near the goal line, but Michigan punted it right back.

Not until a blocked punt from Mark Moundros with less than 10 minutes to play in the fourth quarter did Michigan score. On the next play from scrimmage, quarterback Steven Threet found wide out Junior Hemingway in the right corner of the end zone for a 33-yard score.

Michigan trimmed it to 25-23 minutes later, but that was as close as it would get. Adam Patterson sacked Utah quarterback Brian Johnson to force a fumble deep in Utah territory, and after Austin Panter pounced on it, Sam McGuffie took it right up the gut from 3-yards out for a Michigan score.

"Coming out in the second half, the guys were a little more awake," said Obi Ezeh, who finished with 15 tackles and an interception. "They had their eyes wide open; they knew what was at stake. We came out in the first half a little slow. I don't know. I just know in the second half I saw a spark. We were resilient and we didn't give up until the very end and that is a testament to how hard we worked this summer."

The two-point conversion came up incomplete as Threet looked to the back of the end zone on the pass.

The Michigan defense would record two more defensive stops over the final six minutes of action, but the offense was never able to move the ball back into Utah territory as the Wolverines fell to 0-1 on the season.

The Wolverines look to go 1-1 next weekend, hosting Miami University at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor. Kick-off is scheduled for noon on either ESPN or ESPN2.

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