BYU found an interesting way to get its two victories this season — Hail Mary passes thrown by freshman backup quarterback Tanner Mangum against Nebraska and Boise State.
Mangum replaced Taysom Hill in the opener after Hill suffered a season-ending foot injury.
The Cougars could not pull off the magic against UCLA last Saturday night, falling 24-23. Mangum was intercepted on fourth down with just under a minute left in the game. But Michigan certainly has taken notice of what Mangum has orchestrated.
Michigan faces BYU on Saturday at Michigan Stadium, the Wolverines’ (2-1) third straight home game.
Secondary coach Mike Zordich was asked on Sunday’s “Inside Michigan Football” show how to defend the Hail Mary.
“It is a scary situation, for sure,” Zordich said on the show. “Nobody wants to go into the locker room winning the whole game and then end up losing. That’s not a good feeling.
“The way we’ve approached it, we’ve been working on that play since training camp, so it has been taught, it has been worked on and it’s something we do week in and week out. At the end of every week we put three or four plays in for that particular play, and we just go over it and go over it and go over it and that’s all you can do. And hopefully when it happens we do what we’re supposed to do, knock the ball down, box out and get those receivers out of the way.”
Coach Jim Harbaugh reiterated on the show his thoughts on the Wolverines from the postgame news conference following the 28-7 victory Saturday over UNLV.
“I thought the team took care of business, started fast, which we were really encouraging them to do,” Harbaugh said. “Things we can do better, but felt like the team did what we asked them to do but we improved as a team. I really felt like that and we got the win and things we can coach.”
Seven different backs ran the ball, as Michigan accumulated 254 yards. Receiver Jehu Chesson, described by Harbaugh on the show as the fastest player on the team, ran for a 36-yard touchdown, receiver Amara Darboh also has had a carry and quarterback Jake Rudock kept the ball three times for 15 yards.
While De’Veon Smith is the lead back and had three rushing touchdowns a week earlier, Ty Isaac led all rushers with 114 yards, including a 76-yard touchdown run.
“We’re getting multiple guys playing, and I really believe they’re hungry when they come in to make the most of their opportunity,” Harbaugh said. “That’s a good thing for our team.”
Harbaugh said improvement comes from every aspect of the team.
“We’re going to be striving for every area,” he said. “We’re not going to be satisfied where we’re at right now. It’s just way too early in the season for that. We’re going to be scratching, clawing, biting for any amount of improvement we can make. What’s important? Win the next game.”