There were a lot of contributors you might not be familiar with, younger players who suddenly showed up and made an impact. The Daily introduces you to some of those players, what they did and what it could mean for the future.
In the fourth quarter, up 38 points, Michigan went for it on fourth down.
The Wolverines’ latest scoring drive had been courtesy of third-string quarterback Joe Milton and fourth-string running back Hassan Haskins. Facing fourth-and-goal at the one-yard line with the game all but over, Michigan could’ve been forgiven for mailing it in and kicking the field goal. Instead, Milton ran a bootleg, scored a touchdown and mocked ripping open his shirt, a la Superman.
Ten months later, Kelly Bertoni still remembers the conversation.
The drum major for the Michigan marching band stood at the doors of Revelli Hall, the band’s rehearsal space, helping then-Director of Operations Maggie St. Clair bag up bananas and bagels and granola bars for their trip to Ohio State last Nov. 24. St. Clair, decked out in maize and blue, turned to Bertoni.
Neither of those things guarantee that Michigan will do the same this year. After all, the Wolverines looked much worse against Wisconsin on Saturday than they did in their previous early-season losses. But Michigan players still remember that they’ve rebounded before, and going forward, the only thing left to do is believe they can do it again.
The Wolverines came into Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday and got embarrassed, 35-14. The reason for that can be summed up many ways, but one stat was particularly telling: Michigan had 40 yards rushing, Wisconsin had 359.
MADISON — No matter who you asked, there was a phrase that reverberated through the Wisconsin press room Saturday afternoon.
“We just played Wisconsin football.”
There’s a very specific style the Badgers are known for. It’s physical, bruising football, with a stout running game, a steady stream of overpowering offensive linemen and a lockdown defense. Done right, every opponent slowly has the life sucked out of it. For years, they haven’t deviated, and there’s a reason: it works.
But for the Michigan football team’s first two games this season, Bredeson took his normal spot on the line while Runyan sat and watched, out with an undisclosed injury. Instead, Bredeson played next to redshirt freshman tackle Ryan Hayes, who is talented but inexperienced and hadn’t developed the same level of trust with Bredeson. But Runyan is expected to be back this week, just in time for a marquee matchup with No. 13 Wisconsin.
“Jon and I played with each other now going on year two and he and I just know everything that the other’s gonna do, a telepathic sense of it just from being next to the guy for so long,” Bredeson said. “He’s got that experience level for a Big Ten road game that we're about to go into, so it’ll be nice getting Jon back. I’m excited for that.”
But perhaps the Wolverines have a built-in advantage in preparing for that. If you look at SP+, a comprehensive team evaluation stat, it’s actually Michigan’s defense holding the top spot. As senior guard Ben Bredeson put it, “it’s tough, and it’s tough going against our defense, too.” And the Wolverines have the advantage of knowing they’ll be the biggest challenge yet for the Badgers’ inexperienced quarterback Jack Coan.
The Monday after the Middle Tennessee game, Harbaugh gathered the team together and announced that Speight and junior offensive lineman Andrew Vastardis would receive scholarships. Speight had gotten into the game on special teams, making the moment even more special.