Game ball for season-opening win over Florida

Posted September 04, 2017

TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC. With that comes the first edition of our weekly staff predictions article. "But winning this game is key because it sets the right tone for the season".

When the Wolverines got out of their own way with costly mistakes that put Florida in the game, his pair of top-10 recruiting classes and reputation for player development shined. That puts the pressure squarely on MI to beat the short-handed Gators. He consistently banged out four to five yard runs keeping the Wolverines offense on the move. Franks was replaced Saturday primarily to give a different look for Michigan's defense, not because of his performance.

MI coach John Harbaugh refuses to make his decision known, but it's between redshirt senior Wilton Speight and sixth-year senior John O'Korn.

Florida has had the same identity for roughly ten years now. "But thankfully, it's over and other offenses have to face them now". The Gators are expecting the defense to be the strength of this team again. Their streak of 27 consecutive wins to open the season was the longest active streak in the country prior to Saturday's loss.

Anthony Riddle, who is from Jackson, Michigan, shared in the letter some of the experiences of training and combat that he and his fellow young Marines went through.

"It's definitely not easy - especially in my case rehabbing for 7 1/2 months for this game", he said.

Much like Isaac, Perry showed up when the Wolverines needed him most. Wilton Speight will be back at quarterback and look to stabilize an offense filled with inexperienced skill players. Losing Callaway is going to be a bigger deal than some people may think.

"Our defense was wonderful", coach Jim Harbaugh said.

Perhaps the most overlooked part, though, is that MI has a much better group of skill position players. Unfortunately for MI fans, most of those players will be on the defensive side of the ball.

I think the travel to Texas and suspended players will prove to be a major distraction for Florida.

MI football also got solid contributions from its young pass catchers. The last one, by Chase Winovich, produced the final points as Zaire was tackled in the end zone and fumbled; Michigan's Noah Furbush recovered the ball for a touchdown.

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Worse, it prevented the Gators from taking a 10-point lead and possibly altering the game's complexion.

On Paper this is a game that could go either way.

But while there was plenty of attention on both teams leading up to the game, there was one major question left unanswered.

There was palace intrigue about MI coming into this game.

Nordin made four field goals, including a 55-yarder in the first half. Keep in mind many returning players on the defensive side of the football for the Wolverines had playing time past year.

At a certain point in the second quarter, Maurice Hurst kept running from his protective handle spot into the space to pursue down and stop a recipient screen.

Michigan's defense was ravaged by departures, creating more opportunity for ballyhooed defensive end Rashan Gary to live up to the hype. "They played their best, and they played for MI and won for MI today". The Maize and Blue will pull out a close ugly 20-17 win.

The Michigan Wolverines will begin an all-important third season with Jim Harbaugh as their head coach when they travel to Arlington, Texas to do battle with the Florida Gators Saturday.

Portion of a letter Jim Harbaugh got from a Marine that he read to his team last night. I like the Wolverines chances against Florida and here's why. Suddenly, with fewer than 50 yards of total offense, Florida found itself in front, 17-10. They really haven't since Urban Meyer was their coach some seven years ago.

Pigrome had to be helped off late in the third quarter after twisting his knee, but freshman Kasim Hill came in and led two fourth-quarter touchdown drives in the opener for both teams. Both defenses are pretty stout and I also think the Gators will be out to prove that this meeting won't be as much of a mismatch as the last one which was a 41-7 MI win less than two years ago. He considered it a must-win for the Wolverines.

Limited sample size makes it hard to say whether those ugly numbers should be credited more to a defense that to the naked eye looked maybe even a step faster than last year's group or to the ineptitude of Florida's first attempt at offense this year. MI ran for 215 yards while Florida ran for 20.