Michigan stopped the third and final Akron red zone trip with 5 seconds remaining to prevail in a squeaker, 28-24. Both teams scored 7 points in three red zone trips, and Akron earned 7 points off four Wolverine turnovers.
Offense came through when they had to both times when we lost the lead. Gardner was 16 of 30 for 248 yards, 2 TDs, 3 interceptions plus a fumble for 4 turnovers; he ran for 109 yards in 10 carries for a TD. Fitz Touissaint had 71 yards in 19 carries for a TD. Michigan had 425 net yards, and were 3 of 10 in 3rd down conversions with 19 first downs. Devin Funchess had 2 catches for 65 yards and a TD. Jeremy Gallon had 6 catches for 66 yards. Jehu Chesson caught his first pass of the season for a 33 yard TD. Offense scored on their first and last drives of the game, but in between they committed 4 costly turnovers including one for a TD plus were forced into three "3 and outs" and four punts.
Defense had no sacks. Akron dominated time of possession by 6 and a half minutes because of the 4 turnovers which gave them 17 additional offensive plays. The Zips had 418 net yards, and were 9 of 19 in 3rd and 4th down conversions. Blake Countess had one interception for 45 yards, and 6 tackles. Jarrod Wilson stopped a Zip Red Zone with another interception. James Ross led the defense with 10 tackles, Thomas Gordon had 9, and Desmond Morgan came up with 7. Pohl was 25 of 49 for the Zips for 311 yards. Both Jourden Lewis and Ramon Taylor were burned by L.T. Smith of the Zips on long passes; he caught 5 for 125 yards. Zach D'Orzio caught 6 for 97 yards and a TD.
Matt Wile shanked another punt for a 21 yarder, and almost had another blocked; overall, he had 4 punts for a 33 yard average. Gibbons missed his only field goal attempt, and ruined his 16 of 16 streak. Dennis Norfleet had to be replaced again by Special Teams coach Dan Ferrigno for the second game, and Drew Dileo finished as punt returner. After fumbling two punts in two games, Norfleet almost mishandled another return coming close to letting the ball hit him near the sideline. The two missed field goals by Akron, one bouncing back off the goalpost, were a big factor at the end of the game. Akron had not won a game on the road against anyone since October 18, 2008, and was a 37 point underdog entering this game.
Sione Houma started at H-Back over Joe Kerridge, Joe Bolden started over James Ross, Brennan Beyer started over Captain Cam Gordon, and Courtney Avery did not play at all despite Hoke assuring the media during the week that he would, in fact, get repetitions at safety. Michigan's three defensive captains, Cam Gordon, Courtney Avery, and Jake Ryan, are all injured, and unable to play or backups. The lack of leadership was evident in this game. Freshman DeMario Jones saw action on special teams. Channing Stribling was missing on defense after playing in the first two games.
We were outplayed and definitely outcoached by Coaches Bowden and Amato on both sides of the ball, but came up with two red zone stops to win just like last week against the Irish. We dodged a "bullet" to preserve Brady Hoke's 17 game winning streak at the Big House, but the 46 of 46 scoring streak in the red zone, and Gibbons 16 of 16 field goal streaks ended. Luckily, we didn't repeat the Appalachian State and Toledo embarrassing losses of 2007 and 2008. The talk earlier in the week by many fans of Michigan appearing in a national championship may now subside. This team is very mediocre in many respects. Gardner will continue to have turnover problems against teams who can pressure, and our defense will continue to be challenged without a pass rush.
Player Participation Box Score Highlights Post-Game Press Conference Devin Gardner & Taylor Lewan Locker Room Speech by Hoke
Observations on the first half with Akron
Depth Chart for Akron
Greg Mattison on September 10 Al Borges Brady Hoke on September 13
Football Practice on September 10 Interviews Jeremy Gallon Thomas Gordon Jack Miller Dennis Norfleet Jehu Chesson Kyle Kalis
Brady Hoke Press Conference on September 9 Drew Dileo