Off and Running (Michigan 47, WMU 14)

Michigan 47 Western Michigan 14

Photo: Zoey Holmstrom

A proper opener, if there ever was such a thing. 

Overmatched Western Michigan, surely hyped by playing in front of 100K+ at the Big House (or any crowd for that matter), hung tight for the first quarter as Michigan tried to suss out their own issues defensively. The Broncos only real drive of any consequence was their first, which went for 75 yards on 10 plays and a score. After that, Michigan locked down the Broncos for the rest of the game until their garbage time touchdown with 3:30 left. But like any heavy underdog in a season opener, they knew they had to start fast, and under standout sophomore QB Caleb Eleby, they did just that.

But once Michigan settled in, they pulled away with ease thanks to a very balanced rushing attack with Hassan Haskins (13 car, 70 yds, 1TD) and Blake Corum (14 car, 111 yds, 1TD rush, 1 TD rec) who had himself a bit of a coming out party, making big plays receiving and rushing, as well as on kickoff return. If game balls were given out, Corum earned his.

More WMU coverage: STAT-OGame Photos

Junior QB Cade McNamara looked very composed, throwing 9 of 11 for 136 yards and 2 TDs. But more important than stats, Cade seemed to be in control of the offense throughout. We'll see if that holds up versus better defenses.

Also, does Michigan have a bit a QB race brewing?, not going there yet ;)

Defensively, I thought Daxton Hill had his best game as a Wolverine. DE Aidan Hutchinson also looked solid, forcing a fumble after enveloping Eleby in the backfield for a sack, and than a few plays later blocking a WMU field goal attempt. After the opening series by WMU, the Michigan defense stiffened significantly against what I would consider a pretty potent offensive attack from the Broncos. Yes, they're a MAC school, but Michigan did what they should do, and that was put the hammer down and pull away for a decisive win. The backups were in by the 3Q, and Michigan continued to score on offense, and make stops on defense.

What more can you ask for?

In this cynical time, especially when it comes to Michigan football, can we ever have a game when things just go right and we're not left dissecting the minutiae? Probably not. But for this blogger, this was a comfortable win that featured explosive plays from Michigan's best playmakers on both sides of the ball. 

Maybe that's my biggest takeaway...we didn't see a bunch of 1-yard touchdown runs which have become synonymous with the Harbaugh era...we saw touchdown runs of 22, 74 and 30 yards. Not to be outdone, Michigan had touchdown passes of 14, 76 and 69. I don't have my record book in front of me, but that's more explosiveness than we've seen from a Michigan offense in a while.

At the end of the day, this win just felt...normal. And after last year, I'll take normal. 

On to the next one.

A little bit of a bummer because he was also part of the worst of the game, but Ronnie Bell's one-handed grab that got called back for a very suspect pass interference call, was truly one of the most special catches I've ever seen, especially in person. 
A close second, though...
No doubt, the Ronnie Bell injury. 

I assume we'll find out today if it's serious enough for him to miss meaningful time or just something that will keep him out of a game or two. Obviously hoping for the best, but man, no one deserves a good break more than Ronnie. Fingers crossed.

No real oddities in this one other than Michigan's new helmet stickers. 

Photo: Zoey Holmstrom

Have to admit, not a fan. I like the regular helmet stickers, but these just seem a little childish to me. 

Parkinggod highlights:

Thought it was interesting the visiting band is now located in the upper rows of the southeast corner of the stadium. Not sure if this was just a one-time thing or if this is the new normal. I know there's been a bigger emphasis on creating more space on the sidelines this season and this could be part of that. I feel bad for the fans right around the band. It even looked like there was one row of fans along the back as well...which is very odd and surely not a great game experience for them.

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