Angelique Chengelis and John Niyo discuss Michigan's win over Minnesota. Angelique S. Chengelis, The Detroit News
Ann Arbor – Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh did not hedge when asked whether redshirt freshman quarterback Brandon Peters will make his second start.
Peters will indeed start when the Wolverines play at Maryland on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Wilton Speight, the starting quarterback this season who has been out since fracturing three vertebrae at Purdue on Sept. 23, could be ready to play again before the end of the regular season. He still has to be cleared by doctors, but there is a chance he will be available for the final two games, at Wisconsin and then at home against Ohio State.
For now, though, Peters is the starter. He was 8-of-13 for 56 yards and a touchdown pass in the 33-10 victory over Minnesota last Saturday. The running game took over as Karan Higdon gained 200 yards and scored two touchdowns and Chris Evans had 193 and two touchdowns.
“Brandon will be the starter again this week, God willing and the creek don’t rise, he’ll be starting the game,” Harbaugh said Monday at his weekly news conference. “He had an excellent week of practice and put a real exclamation point on the ballgame that he had last week. Great to see him start and the team to get the win.”
Michigan coach talks about the redshirt freshman quarterback's performance in Saturday's 33-10 win over Minnesota. Angelique S. Chengelis, Detroit News
Harbaugh pointed out that Michigan is one of three schools – Maryland and Houston the others – that have had three quarterbacks make starts this year and earn wins. Speight and John O’Korn also started and won games.
“He was very effective in the first drive,” Harbaugh said of Peters. “There were two throws he should have hit that came up short. It was my feeling after the game that, got to keep him more loose during the game. Had a screen pass that could have gone really big but it was the one time we had three offensive linemen that not one of them picked up the block. It was a screen to Chris Evans that should have gone, should have busted out.
“Coulda hit a couple more but nothing close to an interception, nothing close to turning the ball over, even though he took some big shots in the pocket. Thought he held onto the ball well and did the things to keep us from losing the ball game. Did the things to help us win the ball game. Know he can execute all throws, so feel good going forward.”
Speight, the starter last season, has surprised doctors with his accelerated recovery. He has been cleared for throwing and some exercises, Harbaugh said, but not cleared for contact.
“I think there’s more second opinions to be had,” Harbaugh said. “I know Wilton’s really excited about his most recent CAT scan. Maybe this will sound over the top, but I think some of the doctors are a bit stunned that it’s so far along and he’s healing well. Young guys can do that sometimes. Good blood flow throughout their body. They’re young and healthy, and he’s healing fast.”
Harbaugh would not speculate how he will handle the quarterback situation if Speight returns and if there might be an open competition.
“Like we said always, once somebody’s back, that’s when we’d address that back out there practicing and competing,” he said.
Running back Ty Isaac, receiver Grant Perry, offensive lineman Michael Onwenu and tight end Tyrone Wheatley Jr. missed last week’s game against Minnesota with injuries suffered the week before against Rutgers.
“Yeah, there’s a very good chance that all could be back Saturday,” Harbaugh said. “All questionable.”
Harbaugh would not offer an update on freshman receiver Nico Collins, who appeared to suffer an injury against Minnesota.