Show Thumbnails
Show Captions

Here are some of the key takeaways from Michigan’s victory over Cincinnati:

1. Keeping the faith: These have hardly been scintillating performances by quarterback Wilton Speight, but it’s clear for now that coach Jim Harbaugh believes things will turn. There were two pick-sixes in the opener, and a fumble and bad miss of a wide-open receiver, but Harbaugh said his 17-of-29 for 221 yards was “not bad” and they will continue to “striving for that perfection.” Speight admitted he can get “sloppy” with his feet and is working daily to improve. He currently is 109th of 124 ranked QBs in completion percentage (51.9).

■ 2. Ty is the guy: Fifth-year senior running back Ty Isaac has been a consistent presence on an offense that is still finding its way. He followed his 114-yard rushing performance in the season opener against Florida with a 133-yard game in his first start of the season Saturday in Michigan’s victory over Cincinnati. Isaac learned the night before the game he would get the start. He averaged 6.7 yards a carry and had a 53-yard run early in the fourth quarter. Isaac ranks 18th nationally in rushing (247) and 20th in yards per carry (7.97).


■ 3. Perry gets the trust: Receiver Grant Perry is a veteran in a group of youngsters, and that’s showing in his consistent play. He had four catches for 46 yards, including a long of 28 in the season opener, and against Cincinnati he had four catches for 66 yards, including an important 33-yard touchdown reception that gave Michigan a 24-14 lead. He also took over on punt returns, Harbaugh opting to sit freshman Donovan Peoples-Jones, who, he said, was waiting too late to make critical decisions. While Harbaugh thinks Peoples-Jones will settle in just fine, he wanted Perry’s experience back there.

■ 4. Defense will find a way: While Michigan’s offense remains a work in progress, the defense will be counted on to find ways to score. The defense has now scored — with two pick-sixes against Cincinnati —three touchdowns this season, one more than it has allowed. Can the defense sustain this type of output? Time will tell, of course, but while Harbaugh maintains patience is needed while the offense gets adjusted and grows, the defense will need to continue to have this kind of impact.

■ 5. Working in the tight ends: Four tight ends have made impacts in the receiving game for Michigan the first two games — Sean McKeon and Nick Eubanks in the opener and Zach Gentry, Tyrone Wheatley and McKeon had receptions in the home opener. McKeon has been the most productive with five catches for 38 yards the first two games, but big-target Gentry could see an increased role. He had two catches for 41 yards against Cincinnati, including a 36-yarder.