One of the most highly-anticipated games took place Saturday afternoon in the Big Ten, the No. 4 Michigan Wolverines were getting their first true test in the eyes of many against the No. 8 Wisconsin Badgers, who were looking for a second win over a top-10 opponent in as many weeks, and third such win overall in 2016.
The tone was set early and often in the 1st quarter, the game was going to be a good, old fashioned Big Ten slug fest. The Badgers punted twice, while the Wolverines punted away once. On their second drive, Michigan did move the ball down the field and exhaust the final 4 minutes and 37 seconds and got the ball the Wisconsin 1-yard line before the end of the quarter.
(THRU 1ST: TIED 0-0)
Michigan did score on the first play of the 2nd quarter, running back Khalid Hill punched it in to give Michigan a 7-0 lead over the Badgers.
It was another extremely quiet quarter for both teams. Wisconsin punted three more times and true freshman quarterback Alex Hornibrook threw an interception late before half. Luckily for him and the Badgers, Michigan couldn’t do anything with it. Meanwhile, the Wolverines were found kicking themselves in the 2nd quarter, literally. Kicker Kenny Allen missed two field goal attempts, one from 31 yards out and one from 43 yards.
(HALF: MICH LEADS 7-0)
Michigan got the ball to open the second half and milked nearly five minutes on their opening drive, a drive that was extended thanks to a Wisconsin ‘roughing the snapper’ personal foul penalty on 4th down when Michigan was punting away. That kept the drive alive. However, Wolverines quarterback Wilton Speight four plays later threw an interception to Badgers defensive back Derrick Tindal, his first pick since his very first throw of the season against Hawaii.
Unlike when Michigan picked off Hornibrook, Wisconsin was able to cash in after turning Michigan over. They needed just five plays and 31 yards, capped by a 17-yard touchdown pass from Hornibrook to his tailback Dare Ogunbowale, tying to game at 7 apiece.
The Wolverines got the ball back and put themselves into scoring position with an 11-play, 64-yard drive that spent nearly six minutes. Unfortunately, the kicking woes continued. A third missed field goal, this one from backup kicker Ryan Tice from 40 yards out.
The punt fest continued to end the third and into the 4th quarter.
(THRU 3RD: TIED 7-7)
A pair of punts from each team was how the 4th quarter started. A jam-packed Big House was a bit anxious and more quiet than normal for much of this game, with Wisconsin hanging around drive for drive.
Finally, the Wolverines broke through. A drive that started on their own 36-yard line didn’t start so promising, advancing just three yards on the first two plays. Then they went big, Speight connected with senior wideout Amara Darboh down the sidelines for a 46-yard touchdown, re-claiming the lead for Michigan, 14-7.
Michigan was able to force one more Wisconsin punt and picked off Hornibrook two more times to put the game on ice, moving to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in league play.
FINAL – MICH 14, WISC 7
- W. Speight (MICH): 20/32, 219 yards, TD, INT
- A. Darboh (MICH): 6 rec, 87 yards, TD
- C. Stribling (MICH): 2 interceptions