Michigan: Challenge from Colorado 'good for us'

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Michigan's Jabrill Peppers said the defense "needed" a game like Saturday after rolling in their first two games.

Ann Arbor – Michigan had cruised through its first two games, outscoring their opponents 114-17.

So when the Wolverines were in unfamiliar territory down two touchdowns at the end of the first quarter against Colorado, they had to find a way to work themselves back into the game. No. 4 Michigan outscored the Buffaloes 38-7 the last three quarters to win, 45-28, at Michigan Stadium on Saturday.

The Wolverines said it was a good experience after routs their first two games.

“I really do think we did (need this game), because it’s only going to get tougher from here,” tight end Jake Butt said. “Honestly, this was not our best week of practice. It really wasn’t. One thing we stress all the time, you’re going to play how you practice and how you prepare.

“We found a way to get it done. We can look back and learn from this. If we want to be the best team in the country or one of the best teams in the country, we’ve got to practice like it, we’ve got to play like it, we’ve got to prepare like it and execute like it. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t our best game by any means. It was good enough to get the job done, though. Thankfully, we can go back and make the corrections knowing we won this game.”

Jabrill Peppers said the defense took plenty from the game.

“We needed that as a defense,” Peppers said. “The first two games we definitely beat them up pretty badly. They came out here ready to go. We weren’t shocked. We were surprised how ready those guys were. They didn’t waste any time. They opened up the bag of tricks early.  We dug deep.”

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Michigan opens Big Ten play Saturday at home against Penn State. That will be the fourth straight home game for the Wolverines, who will then face Wisconsin the following week at Michigan Stadium before heading on the road for the first time to Rutgers.

Glasgow said getting this kind of challenge now will help the Wolverines going forward.

“It’s good for us,” Glasgow said. “That’s bound to happen at some point in the season. We might not be fortunate enough in the future if that happens later in the year to come back from a game like that.

“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.”

Calling their shots

Grant Perry told his teammates he was going to block a punt and Peppers told them he would get a good return to set up a score before the half.

Both delivered on at least some variation of their predictions.

“Guys were getting lucky seeing the future,” receiver Amara Darboh said.

Michigan was trailing 14-0 when Perry told his teammates he was about to do something big.

“I was like, ‘Guys, I’m going to go block this punt and help the team,’” Perry said. “I didn’t block it, but I scored it. Kind of called it, but it was a good play to get us back in the game.”

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Peppers, who scored on a 54-yard punt return for the game's final score, delivered on his call, returning a punt 13 yards to the Colorado 45-yard line with 43 seconds left. On the first play from scrimmage, Darboh avoided a tackle and was elusive in a 45-yard reception from Wilton Speight.

“My mindset was try to make a play, get a big gain and help the team out by scoring a touchdown or getting a big first down,” said Darboh, who wanted to make amends from a dropped catch the first series of the game.

Butt said Darboh’s score was the momentum the Wolverines needed going into halftime.

“I felt we needed to definitely score,” Darboh said. “Before (Peppers) had the return he said he was going to give us good field position and he did. They called the play and I was like all right, I’m going to try to follow up on his return.”


Twitter: @chengelis