Wilton Speight feels heat of FSU defensive line

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Miami Gardens, Fla. — Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight finished his first season as a starter helping to lead the Wolverines to a 10-3 record.

But those three losses in the final four games — including Friday night’s 33-32 loss to Florida State in the Orange Bowl — were by a total of five points.

This was a team that at the start of the season had high expectations with goals of winning the Big Ten championship and making the four-team national playoff.

“That’s tough to look back on the season, a five-point swing from being undefeated,” Speight said. “That’s tough, but that’s life. That’s 100-percent life. The coaches know that, the guys know that. We’re grown men now. There’s no saying, ‘Gosh, I wish we could get five points back.’ That’s the way the cookie crumbles, I guess.”

Speight, his lip cut and slightly swollen and his white road uniform covered with grass stains, saw a lot of the Florida State defensive line, which he said was the best he’s faced. He was 21-of-38 for 163 yards and one touchdown and one interception.

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“Those guys were freaks,” Speight said. “But we were able to stand our ground and hang with them.”

The Seminoles sacked Speight four times and had 15 tackles for loss.

They set the tone early, scoring on their first possession and taking a 20-6 lead at halftime. Michigan was outgained 255-83 in the first half and Speight threw for only 60 yards.

“I don’t think we came out flat,” he said. “They just came out playing really well and firing on all cylinders. You see boxing, you see UFC stuff, maybe even golf, you come out, you’re doing the right things but the other team comes out hot, the fighter comes out hot. You take the punch, roll with it and move on and that’s what we did.”