Quarterback Devin Gardner drops back to pass against Minnesota in the homecoming game. Amanda Gosline/MJ
Quarterback Devin Gardner drops back to pass against Minnesota in the homecoming game. Amanda Gosline/MJ
Quarterback Devin Gardner drops back to pass against Minnesota in the homecoming game. Amanda Gosline/MJ

By GEOFF MEHL, Staff Reporter

There were several question marks coming into the season about how Michigan’s offense would look under new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier. Saturday’s game against Appalachian State University provided a peek into the new look offense in a 52- 14 victory.

One of the major question marks involved the young offensive that featured Mason Cole, a true freshman left tackle. Against Appalachian State, that question was answered as the Wolverines only allowed one sack on starting quarterback Devin Gardner.

Along with good protection in the passing game, the Wolverines rushed for 350 yards. Saturday featured the first Michigan running back tandem, Derrick Green and De’Veon Smith, to total over 100 yards each since Brandon Minor and Carlos Brown on October 27, 2007 vs. Minnesota. 

Smith rushed for 115 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries and Green carried the ball 15 times for 170 yards and a touchdown.

Though a win against Appalachian State isn’t anything to boast about, it was positive for Michigan to see progress from an offensive line and backfield that is so young and inexperienced.  

“We want to run the ball, and to have two 100 yard rushers is a good thing” Coach Brady Hoke said. “We wanted that offensive line to play together.”

Donning Michigan apparel, Jabrill Peppers holds the team's iconic winged helmet. Photo courtesy of northjersey.com.
Donning Michigan apparel, Jabrill Peppers holds the team’s iconic winged helmet. Photo courtesy of northjersey.com.

Peppers leaves early in debut.

Highly touted true freshman Jabrill Peppers started at nickel corner on defense and as a punt returner in the first half, but was removed at halftime after making two tackles and one punt return for six yards. He went into the locker room at halftime and never returned to the sideline. Hoke stated an ankle injury was the cause for Peppers’ absence and that he would be ready for next week’s game against Notre Dame. 

Funchess changes his number…again. 

Just before the game Saturday, wide receiver Devin Funchess announced he had changed his number from the No. 87 Legends jersey to No. 1 for the 2014 season. This will be the third number change for Funchess in three years; he wore No. 19 as a freshman before being given Ron Kramer’s Legend Jersey prior to the 2012 season.

“It was an incredible honor to be selected to wear the number 87 Legends Jersey in honor of Ron Kramer.” Funchess said per a team release prior to kickoff. “Moving strictly to wide receiver, I watched a lot of Michigan greats over the offseason and seeing receivers wearing number 1 making plays…I wanted to carry on another Michigan tradition this season.”

Gardner passes Brady in Michigan history

After tossing his second touchdown pass of the game to Devin Funchess in the first quarter, Devin Gardner passed Tom Brady for eighth all-time in Michigan history with 36 passing touchdowns. Gardner is one touchdown pass away from passing Todd Collins for seventh place on the list.

Denard Robinson returns.

Former Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson was in attendance to watch his Wolverines defeat Appalachian State. Robinson is the only player in NCAA history to rush for 1,500 yards and pass for 2,500 yards in a season. Currently, he is a back-up running back for the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.