Rapid reaction: Turnovers sink Michigan
Final: Utah 24, Michigan 17
Telling stat: 3 Jake Rudock interceptions
Normally, a guy throwing three interceptions in his first start in a new offense wouldn’t be too noteworthy. But for Rudock, a guy who only threw five interceptions all last season as Iowa’s starter, that was completely out of the ordinary. All of the talk leading into Thursday was about Harbaugh’s pending decision at quarterback. Something tells me that it’ll be all about the same subject for the next nine days.
Key Play: Thomas 56-yard INT TD
Oh, that looked all too familiar for Michigan. On third and three, Jake Rudock made his worst throw of the night. Justin Thomas jumped the route and took it 55 yards to the house, taking the wind out of Michigan’s sail. The Wolverines had finally taken the momentum away with a and hadn’t turned the ball over all half until that disastrous throw.
-Jake Butt looked really, really good
It’s hard to say Michigan’s passing game was totally awful because Jake Butt looked like the preseason All-Big Ten tight end he was tabbed. Eight catches for 93 yards and a score is not too shabby of a debut. He seemed to be the only Wolverine that wasn’t dropping passes. His touchdown was a jumpball in between a pair of Utah defenders. For all the question marks surrounding the Michigan offense after Thursday, Butt was definitely not one of them. It was also entertaining to hear where Gus Johnson put the emphasis on his name.
-Peppers flashed potential
There were promising moments for the highly touted redshirt freshman safety. He was attacked early by Travis Wilson but he settled down in the second half. Two different times, Peppers shook off an outside block and blew up a ball carrier in the backfield. He has work to go on the coverage side, but you can tell this kid is going to make a major impact.
What it means: Michigan is exactly where we thought it was
Did this change anything? It shouldn’t have. This was going to be a tough road test for the Wolverines, and they weren’t going to look like a finished product yet. There are obviously still questions to answer at the quarterback position, there were far too many drops and 2.6 yards per rush certainly won’t cut it, either. If not for the three turnovers, this could’ve a different game. Unfortunately for Michigan, that’s a narrative that’s all too familiar.
What’s next: Oregon State
A home game will bring additional hype for the Harbaugh era. Expect more submarine from Harbaugh’s squad. It has plenty of work to do to get into the win column for the first time in 2015.