ARLINGTON, Texas — The Michigan football team’s season kicked off and quickly turned into disaster.
The Wolverine defense forced a three-and-out on the first drive of the game, providing hope for an upset over Alabama. But it was all downhill from there in the opening quarter for Michigan. The Crimson Tide looked dominant, putting three quick touchdowns on the board and taking a 21-0 lead.
The biggest concern going into the game for Michigan was whether its defense could hold up against Alabama’s strong offensive line and stable of running backs, and the early answer is an emphatic no. Eddie Lacy, T.J. Yeldon and Jalston Folwer combined for 73 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown from Lacy. On offense, the Wolverines couldn’t find any running room and were out of sorts in the passing game. Senior quarterback Denard Robinson threw an interception — though his receiver, fifth-year senior Roy Roundtree, was shoved out of bounds on the play — that led to Alabama’s third touchdown.
Second Quarter Recap:
Following another Michigan punt, several more big plays from Yeldon led to more Alabama points. Yeldon only failed to score a touchdown on the first chunk of yardage on the drive, a 40-yard scamper, because he was taken out by teammate Kevin Norwood. He also went 26 yards on a screen to ultimately set up an Alabama field goal.
On the kick return, a block in the back penalty negated freshman Dennis Norfleet’s big return. Starting from its own five-yard line, Michigan went three and out again.
Folloing a Michigan stop, Alabama proved that, yes, even the punter is great. Pinned inside Michigan’s two-yard line to start the drive, Robinson made his biggest mistake of the game, an easy interception and touchdown return for C.J. Mosley. Alabama had already scored more points (31) than minutes in the half, and more than four minutes remained.
Then, finally, Michigan showed some life. On Robinson’s next pass, he unloaded a pass to a streaking Jeremy Gallon, who was brought down one yard short of the endzone. Robinson scampered for six yards (after a penalty for 12 men in the huddle) for Michigan’s first points of the game.
Third Quarter Recap:
Michigan opened the second half with possession, and the team’s struggles on the offensive end continued. The Wolverines picked up a first down on a 20-yard pass to junior wide receiver Drew Dileo but were then forced to punt on the next set of downs.
Alabama’s first possession of the half ended in a missed field goal, but the Crimson Tide didn’t waste time getting the ball back. On Michigan’s next drive, the Wolverines stayed on the field for fourth down at midfield where Robinson fumbled the snap, recovered it and fell half a yard short of the first-down marker. Robinson was also banged up on the play, exiting to the locker room momentarily to get checked out by the team trainers.
Michigan’s defense did solid work limiting Alabama on the ground after the turnover, but Crimson Tide kicker Cade Foster nailed a 51-yard field goal for the first score of the half.
On the Wolverines’ next drive, Vincent Smith rushed ahead into Alabama territory on a 22-yard gain, which set up a 44-yard touchdown pass — Robinson to junior wide receiver Devin Gardner — to end the third quarter.
Fourth Quarter Recap
On Alabama’s first drive of the fourth quarter, Michigan bent, but didn’t break, setting up a punt that pinned Michigan inside the 10. After a first down, Michigan stalled and punted it back to the Crimson Tide.
A pass interference penalty in the endzone against fifth-year senior J.T. Floyd gave Alabama the ball on the seven-yard line. Yeldon punched it in for his first touchdown of the game, and Alabama led 41-14.