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Michigan: Five things we learned

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Jabrill Peppers as good as advertised

Peppers has been very good throughout his career, but the Colorado game might have been his best overall performance. The three-way threat had 204 total yards, including 99 yards on punt returns. He scored on a 54-yard punt return – the first of his career and also made his first appearance this season on offense and had 24 yards rushing.

Strong return game

That was mostly Peppers, too, but Grant Perry took a blocked punt (that Colorado’s Alex Kinney punted into the back of one of his blockers) and ran six yards for the touchdown return and Michigan’s first points. Peppers had the 54-yard punt return for a score. Michigan had a blocked punt and field goal the previous week against UCF.

Kicking needs work

So it’s not always about the kicker, as Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh explained after the game. The snap needs to be right, the hold and location of the laces needs to be right, and the kick, naturally, also needs to be right. That wasn’t the case against the Buffaloes. Kenny Allen missed 2-of-3 attempts, from 37 and 44 yards and Harbaugh said it was a combination of all three elements having issues.

Wilton Speight hung in there

Even after taking a blistering hit to the right (throwing arm) elbow and fumbling (which led to Colorado’s second second), Speight, who had looked comfortable through the first two games, worked through problems and eventually settled in. His safety valves are very much evident – Jake Butt and Amara Darboh.

Wake-up call

After breezing through the first two games, the Michigan players said having to deal with a deficit and the challenges Colorado presented were just what they needed. Said Ryan Glasgow: “I think the best thing we learned today, was that we have a tenacious team that’s never going to give up. That’s the biggest take away from the game for me.”