The No. 5 Michigan football team easily defeated Central Florida as expected on Saturday, but a few hiccups made the victory look less impressive than the 60-point win over Hawaii last week.

Despite another solid game from redshirt sophomore Wilton Speight, who threw for 312 yards and four touchdowns, the running game was largely ineffective and the defense was far from perfect. The Daily breaks down the Wolverines’ 51-14 rout of the Knights:

The good

Michigan had a field day on special teams, getting its hands on two field goals and two punts while also recovering a muffed kickoff. Fifth-year senior Chris Wormley was largely responsible for the two altered field goals, while sophomore safety Tyree Kinnel got his fingers on both punts. At one point, UCF was so rattled on a return that the return man almost kneeled in the end zone for what would have been a safety, but his foot was inches inside the goal line. 

Freshman Rashan Gary and redshirt sophomore Chase Winovich filled in at defensive end for injured senior Taco Charlton, and both performed admirably. Gary recorded his first-ever sack and was tied for second on the team with six tackles, behind only redshirt sophomore linebacker Jabrill Peppers. Winovich also had a career day, picking up his first career sack and forced fumble. 

Speight further proved why he’s under center, showing calm while tying the program record for most touchdowns thrown in the first two games of the season (seven). He aired it out to fifth-year senior wide receiver Amara Darboh on a 45-yard touchdown pass in the end of the first quarter, his longest of the year so far. 

Darboh, senior tight end Jake Butt and fifth-year senior wide receiver Jehu Chesson showed why they’re one of the most deadly receiving corps in the country, combining for 281 yards and four touchdowns. That was good for 90 percent of Speight’s total yardage. As Butt said after the game, it’s impossible to double-cover all three of them at the same time.

The bad 

Michigan’s run defense allowed 275 yards on the ground, which accounted for nearly all of UCF’s offense. The Wolverines had a tough time containing the Knights’ quarterbacks, letting them scramble for 67 yards. It was a huge dropoff from last week when Michigan allowed just 81 rushing yards against the Rainbow Warriors.

On the other side of the ball, the Wolverines’ running backs struggled to get things going. Though senior running back De’Veon Smith showed promise early, breaking at least five tackles on a 17-yard run in the second quarter, the running game fizzled out. Michigan’s 11 ball carriers averaged just 2.9 yards per carry. 

A vital part of the Wolverines’ secondary remains missing after two games. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh told media after the game that senior cornerback Jourdan Lewis suffered a “near-pull” of an unspecified muscle. This injury is different from the one that sidelined Lewis last week, and no mention was made of when he would return.

The ugly

The worst of Michigan’s run defense came on Adrian Killins’ 87-yard touchdown run down the right sideline. After multiple defenders took bad angles on the play, Killins broke free and nobody came close to stopping him. 

Fifth-year senior Kenny Allen dropped a punt in the third quarter, giving fans a flashback to Blake O’Neill’s game-ending gaffe against Michigan State. The Knights took over on the Wolverines’ 48-yard line, but luckily for Allen, UCF turned it over on downs on the ensuing drive.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *