By JERAMY STOVER, Sports Editor
It went as great as it could have–after an initial blunder.
The Michigan Wolverines dominated Hawaii 63-3 on Saturday in the season opener for the home team. It was the biggest victory for the Wolverines (1-0) since 1975 and seventh in program history.
Junior quarterback Wilton Speight got the start under center after an entire summer of fans and reporters guessing. Speight made an early mistake throwing an interception on the very first offensive play.
After that mistake, it would be hard to find any from Michigan throughout the rest of the game. On the very next drive Speight hit Grant Perry in the end zone for a 12-yard score to get the Wolverines on the board. Michigan would find the end zone early and often.
After two more passing touchdowns by Speight, Delano Hill intercepted a pass from Ikaika Woolsey and took it all the way back for a touchdown. It would be one of two interceptions the Wolverines would return for a touchdown as Channing Stribling had one of his own in the third quarter. It was the fourth time in program history Michigan had two interceptions returned for touchdowns.
By halftime, the score was 35-0 in favor of Michigan and there was little to no doubt that it was over. It took Hawaii (0-2) over a quarter and a half to get into positive yardage as a team and to finally achieve a first down.
Freshman Chris Evans kept fans entertained late in the first half by showing off his elusive skill and quick feet. Evans totaled 112 rushing yards and found the end zone on the ground twice. He is the third freshman in program history to eclipse the 100-yard mark in a collegiate debut.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh was not surprised by Evans’ game; he said they’ve been seeing this stuff from Evans all summer in practice.
“I knew Chris Evans was special, what you saw today is what we’ve been seeing in practice for the last month,” Harbaugh said. “He’s a very special player.”
But Evans was not the only freshman to show some serious potential. Wide receiver Eddie McDoom showed off his foot work after taking two sweep plays for 34-yards. He also caught two passes for 15 yards and the Michigan faithful chanted “doom” each time he did.
On defense, prized freshman Rashan Gary made three tackles throughout the game and drew a couple of holding penalties against Hawaii after breaking through the offensive line.
Michigan’s defense put Hawaii in a choke hold as they allowed just 2.2-yards per rush and only let the Rainbow Warriors convert 1-of-11 third downs.
Senior linebacker Mike McCray led the team with nine tackles and two sacks. McCray said after the game that the defense just wanted to go out and “show everybody what we’re about” and try and be better than last season.
Harbaugh talked after the game about what he was looking for after Speight threw the interception to start his first drive.
“I wanted to see what he did on the next series. It’s very difficult for a quarterback to throw an interception on a series and come back and lead a touchdown drive on the following series. The really good ones can do that,” Harbaugh explained.
Next up for Michigan they will host Central Florida on Sept. 10 at noon.