Tight ends Gentry, McKeon step to forefront in UM win

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Michigan tight end Zach Gentry dives into the corner of the end zone for a second quarter touchdown on a pass from QB John O'Korn.

West Lafayette, Ind. — With such a big group of tight ends at Michigan, many have wondered why they haven’t had a more active role in the receiving game.

Tight ends Sean McKeon and Zach Gentry were the Wolverines’ leading receivers in their 28-10 victory at Purdue on Saturday that improved Michigan to 4-0 overall and 1-0 Big Ten.

McKeon had five catches for 82 yards and Gentry had three catches for 48 yards, including a 12-yard pass from quarterback John O’Korn for the team’s first score.

“We saw the defense they were in, Coach Pep (Hamilton) and coach (Tim) Drev(no) made a good play call,” Gentry said. “Luckily it popped open and it felt really good to get the first one out of the way.”

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said the game plan called for bigger personnel groups.

“We had extra O-linemen in there at times,” he said. “(Freshman) Cesar Ruiz did a real nice job there. (Tight ends Ian) Bunting, (Tyrone) Wheatley, Gentry making the big play, hitting McKeon in the flat a few times was critical. McKeon had a heck of a day.

“They all acquitted themselves well. Can’t have too many of them. They all play in our offense.”

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Gentry said O’Korn, who entered the game late in the first quarter after starting quarterback Wilton Speight was injured, stepped up.

“He made really good reads and the coaches called really good plays in the second half,” Gentry said. “We had some halftime adjustments that were good and favorable and just worked out.”

During Michigan’s third scoring drive, Michigan, which was penalized three times in the drive, faced first and 25. That’s when tight end Zach Gentry made a spectacular catch over the shoulder for 26 yards to the Purdue 3-yard line.

“I just looked straight up and John threw a good back-shoulder ball, and I was able to adjust to it successfully,” Gentry said.

Gentry arrived at Michigan as a quarterback and said he has felt comfortable at his new position “for a long time.”

“Especially the start of this last spring primarily,” he said. “It’s something that takes time and I’ve been able to go out and execute.”