By RICKY LINDSAY, Sports Editor
Tied with Miami (Ohio), 10-10, midway through the second quarter Saturday, the Wolverines were sputtering offensively in a game many expected to be a rout. Flashes of last season’s matchup with Akron were flashing before fans eyes, as a RedHawks team with an 18-game losing streak was hanging toe-to-toe with Michigan.
Ready to put the game into his hands, Green jumpstarted Michigan’s offense, totaling 47 yards and scoring a 1-yard touchdown to cap off a six-play, 66-yard drive. The Wolverines took a 17-10 lead and never looked back, topping the RedHawks 34-10.
“I told the coaches, ‘Just give it to me. I’m going to get that job done. Keep feeding me,'” Green said. “And that’s what I did…I told them to give it to me and I’ll get into the end zone.”
Green took over the game for Michigan as the team proceeded to stuff its stat-sheet. The Wolverines totaled 460 yards of offense, including 276 rushing yards. Finally, the team’s most magnified problem in the Devin Gardner quarterback era — the running game — appeared to be solved.
But after looking inept on both sides of the ball for most of the game, Michigan cannot afford the same fortune next week against Utah, let alone during the Big Ten season.
Saturday’s game against Miami (Ohio) felt much closer than a 24-point win. Michigan was not able to put away the RedHawks until two scores in the fourth quarter.
Miami was statistically outplayed by Michigan in all facets of Saturday’s game. The RedHawks totaled only eight first downs and had only six rushing yards midway through the third quarter.
Yet three turnovers by the Wolverines made an expected blowout a much closer game.
Like Akron last year, Miami (Ohio) had nothing to lose in Ann Arbor, Mich. What more could a team on an 18-game losing streak have to lose (besides loss No. 19)?
Nothing. Nothing at all.
And in the process, Michigan and a handful of new problems were exposed.
Through three games, Michigan turned the ball over seven times. And it’s a concerning number for Head Coach, Brady Hoke.
“(I’m) really concerned. Seven in three games – one in three games you don’t want,” Hoke said. “It’s the ball security issues that we have got to do a better job with from top to bottom.”
With Funchess on the sidelines, Michigan’s offense started slow and stalled often, until the ball was handed to Green. The sophomore running back totaled 137 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries.
And without its No. 1 playmaker, Michigan and Devin Gardner looked lost at times, shying away from the passing game, until Backup Quarterback, Shane Morris, attempted two passes.
If Michigan’s problems were on display against a lowly MAC team, they’re going to be magnified even further against Utah on Sept. 20. The Utes (2-0) have totaled 115 points scored in two games this season, possessing a top-10 scoring offense in the nation.
Michigan’s one glaring problem last season — an inept running game — was solved while escaping Miami (Ohio) unscathed. But the Wolverines will not be able to say that much longer with a repeat performance from Saturday against quality opponents.