The Michigan Wolverines (2-0) were looking to continue their torrid start to the 2016 on Saturday at home against a Colorado Buffaloes (2-0) team that has dropped 100 points in the first two games. This match-up proved to be a good measuring stick for each other as this was the first true test for either team this season.
It was Colorado getting things started in the 1st quarter. Michigan got the ball first and recorded one first down before having to punt. The Buffaloes turned that into six points three plays later for 49 yards, capped by a 31-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Sefo Liufau to receiver Devin Ross to give Colorado the early 7-0 lead.
On the next possession for Michigan, Colorado was able to pressure and sack Wolverines quarterback Wilton Speight and force a fumble. It was scooped up by Buffaloes defensive end Derek McCartney and he took it to the house for another touchdown, giving Colorado a 14-0 cushion less than five minutes in.
After forcing another Michigan punt, Colorado got the ball back and returned a punt of their own, but it was blocked and returned for a special team TD, courtesy of Wolverines wideout Grant Perry and cutting their deficit in half.
Colorado did answer on their next drive, moving the ball down the field in ten plays and 67 yards. Liufau connected with Ross for the second time on the afternoon and giving the Buffs a 21-7 lead after one quarter.
(THRU 1ST: COLO LEADS 21-7)
From the end of the 1st quarter onward, it was all Michigan. It was about halfway through the 2nd quarter when Jehu Chesson punched one in from 17 yards out on a jet sweep run play to cut Colorado’s lead down to 21-14.
After a Kenny Allen 39-yard field goal to make it 21-17 with under two minutes to go, Michigan forced a Colorado three-and-out and got the ball back one more time before the break. They capitalized in a big way, needing just one play to jump in front for the first time in this game. Speight completed a pass to Amara Darboh for 45 yards, and Michigan took a 24-21 lead into the locker room.
(HALF: MICH LEADS 24-21)
Colorado briefly regained the lead after receiving the ball first in the second half. They needed three plays to go 80 yards down the field for a 28-24 lead. It was highlighted by a 70-yard pass play from Liufau to Shay Fields. Unfortunately for Colorado, Liufau left the game halfway through the third with an injury and did not return.
Michigan answered Colorado’s touchdown with one of their own on the ensuing drive. Two plays and 45 yards later, led by a 42-yard run from Wolverines tailback De’Veon Smith, Michigan re-claimed the lead, 31-28. Later in the 3rd with a little more than three minutes to go, Michigan propelled a ten-play drive down the field before Ty Isaac ran it in from one yard out, increasing the Wolverines’ lead to 38-28.
(THRU 3RD: MICH LEADS 38-28)
Michigan continued to pad their lead and race pace Colorado after the early scare. After forcing a three-and-out early in the 4th, Wolverines do-everything superstar Jabrill Peppers returned a punt for a career-long 54 yards to the end zone, giving Michigan a 45-28 lead and all but putting the game on ice.
That proved to be the last of the scoring in this game. After the 1st quarter, the Michigan defense absolutely shut down the Colorado offense and literally knocked out their quarterback Liufau, effectively taking whatever wind they had left out of their sails.
(FINAL: MICH 45, COLO 28)
- W. Speight (MICH): 16/30, 229 yards, TD
- D. Smith (MICH): 11 rushes, 87 yards (Team: 168 rushing yards)
- J. Peppers (MICH): 6 punt/kick returns, 180 yards, TD, sack