The Eagles and Wolverines combined for 583 rushing yards as the Eagles took their first loss of the 2011 season. It was a cool and partly cloudy day in Ann Arbor where the Wolverines beat the Eagles 31-3.
The Eagles were lead by running back Javonti Green who ran for a team-high 80 yards. The Wolverines were lead by quarterback Denard Robinson who ran for a game-high 198 yards and one score. Also for the Wolverines Vincent Smith eclipsed the 100-yard mark with 118 yards.
The game started with the Eagles marching down the field before a fumble by Greene at the Michigan 35 halted the drive. The Eagle defense got down to work early in the game with an interception from Kinsman Thomas of an attempted pass by Robinson on a fourth down attempt.
“That one interception was a bang-bang type of situation,” coach Brady Hoke stated. “But, we’re pleased with our Quarterback and I’m glad he’s at Michigan.”
The Eagles seemed to move the ball with ease on their next drive before being stuffed at the 1-yard line by the Wolverine defense. The Eagles had the advantage after the first quarter out gaining the Wolverines 140-32.
The second quarter started with the Eagles making a 21-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead. After the score by the Eagles they continued their dominance on defense forcing the Wolverines to punt, but it wasn’t long before the ball was back in the hands of the Wolverines.
The Eagles tried a trick play that resulted in an interception by Wolverine’s Thomas Gordon at the U-M 3 yard line. This started a 7 play, 97-yard touchdown drive that featured an electrifying 52-yard run by Robinson, and was capped off by a 9-yard touchdown pass to tight end Kevin Koger. The Wolverines never looked back from there.
“I’m not going to question that play call,” coach Ron English stated. “It was a good call and I think that Tyler Benz will grow and he will learn from that experience.”
The Eagles offense never seemed to find it’s stride after the first quarter gaining only 96 more yards throughout the game. After a couple of back and forth punts by each team, the Wolverines offense found it’s zone and took a 14-3 lead with 39 seconds left in the first half.
The Eagles had good field position the entire game but couldn’t capitalize and after a missed 50-yard field goal they went into the locker room down 3-14 at half time.
The Wolverines came out of the locker room with the ball and took advantage, running the ball on the Eagles run defense to take a 21-3 lead on a 1-yard run touchdown score by Fitzgerald Toussaint.
The Wolverine’s offense dominated most of the clock in the second half holding the Eagles to three short possessions after the Eagles had 7 in the first half. Michigan would go on to score one more touchdown in the third quarter on a 19-yard pass from Robinson to Drew Dileo to take the 28-3 lead into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter Michigan would score one more field goal, giving them a 31-3 lead. The Eagles didn’t do much of anything in the fourth quarter and Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner ran out the clock for the final play of the game giving Michigan the 31-3 victory over the Eagles.
In the end, English says he’s pleased with the efforts given by his junior Quarterback, Alex Gillet.
“This was the best he’s played,” English said. “I’ve been a little concerned because he didn’t do his best in the first two games. I think he was trying too hard to be perfect, but today he played freer, happier and he had fun.”
With the loss the Eagles fall to 2-1, which is their first loss of the season, and the Wolverines improve to 3-0 for the third year in a row. Next week the Wolverines play San Diego State at home while the Eagles travel to Beaver Stadium to take on another Big Ten foe Penn State.