No. 11 Michigan opened the season with a 33-17 win over No. 17 Florida on Saturday, as the Wolverines controlled the line of scrimmage from start to finish. Michigan ran 49 times for 215 yards (4.4 yards per carry) and a touchdown, repeatedly pummeling the Gators into submission.
“One of the things that I think I really liked was the fact that they’re starting, all of a sudden, to be able to run the ball,” Big Ten Network analyst Howard Griffith said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “Before last year, they wanted to line up two (tight ends), fullback – really tight formations – and last year, they still were struggling to run the football. Now I know Florida offensively is not all that great, so that kind of holds that team back. But defensively, they have players over there, so they are pushing people around. So you like the fact that (Michigan) can get in these pro formations, tight formations, and still be able to control the line of scrimmage. I really like that.”
Ty Isaac led Michigan with 11 carries for 114 yards, while Chris Evans added 22 carries for 78 yards.
Michigan’s passing game, however, wasn’t quite as consistent. Wilton Speight finished 11-of-25 for 181 yards, including a 46-yard touchdown pass to Tarik Black, but he also threw two interceptions, which were both returned for touchdowns and put Michigan in an early 17-10 hole.
“They were ill-advised and it was really him not following through on his throws,” Griffith said. “So he’s got to be able to take care of the football. When they’re playing a better team that has some offense and can score, you can’t afford to put the ball in the opponents’ hands, let alone throw pick-sixes like he did. That’s something that I think will continue to improve, but you really got to like the way this Michigan offense is playing right now, running the football. And then Tarik Black and Donovan Peoples-Jones, the young wide receivers, are really going to be able to contribute for this team this year.”
Michigan hosts Luke Fickell and Cincinnati (1-0) this Saturday at 12 p.m. ET. The Bearcats opened with a 26-14 win over Austin Peay.