Free Press sports writers Mark Snyder and Jeff Seidel break down what they saw from the U-M spring game April 15 in Ann Arbor.
Michigan’s football team took the field Saturday.
But for the 57,418 fans, many of the names were unfamiliar.
With only a handful of returning starters, Michigan’s Saturday spring game at Michigan Stadium was an introduction to new or unknown faces.
As usual, the competition intensified in the final minutes, with the Blue team taking a 29-28 lead on tailback Karan Higdon’s two-yard touchdown run.
But the Maize team’s Kyle Seychel kicked a 31-yard field goal as time expired for the 31-29 win.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Brandon Peters impressed, quarterbacking one team. Khaleke Hudson and linebacker Devin Bush Jr. brought the pass rush.
Tight end Zach Gentry had the day’s biggest reception, Ty Isaac the longest run and Higdon the most productive day.
There was a familiar name with an impact play – Glasgow – but this time is was Graham and Ryan’s younger brother Jordan, a safety who picked off Wilton Speight in the fourth quarter and returned it over 100 yards for a touchdown.
It was near the end of a rough day for Speight, who many came expecting to see growth after he recovered from a shoulder/collarbone in the off-season.
But he was inconsistent at best.
Overthrowing receivers short, middle and long, he had trouble finding a rhythm and throwing a first-half interception as well.
It wasn’t easy with a heavy pass rush coming as Bush had two first-half sacks and Hudson had one.
Once John O’Korn started rotating with Speight in the middle of the series, getting a rhythm was tough as well.
Speight, who only played a few early possessions in last year’s spring game, was still handing off in the game late in the fourth quarter.
For the Maize team, Peters was active and accurate playing nearly the whole game. His team didn’t call nearly as many passing plays but in the first half, he was 3-for-6 passing for 82 yards, highlighted by hitting a wide open Gentry for a 55-yard touchdown.
In the second half, Peters showed his wheels, scrambling under pressure for a touchdown of more than 10 yards. On the final drive, he threw a strike of nearly 50 yards to walk-on Nate Schoenle.
The running game had a few moments, with Isaac following the first-team offensive line for a 28 yard touchdown on the right side and later Higdon, dancing through traffic and bursting in for a 10-yard score.
Higdon continued to push in the second half, slipping tackles.
Leading returning rusher Chris Evans was only on the field for a few snaps.
There were flashes from a few receivers but true freshman Tarik Black held his own, catching a perfect O’Korn touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. O’Korn, who struggled in his only game filling in for Speight last year, showed his running ability on a few occasions.
Notes: The most apparent serious injury came with 1:44 to play when Eddie McDoom caught a bomb from O’Korn inside the 10 yard line but fell awkwardly and appeared to injure his left leg. He was carted to the locker room. … A number of players did not dress for the game and watched from the sidelines: Receiver Drake Harris, safety J’Marick Woods, offensive lineman JaRaymond Hall, quarterback Alex Malzone and defensive tackle Michael Dwumfour. Offensive lineman Juwann Bushell-Beatty apparently was not on the sideline. … Former Wolverines Jabrill Peppers, Jake Butt, Mike Martin, Jourdan Lewis and Devin Funchess were on the sidelines.
Contact Mark Snyder: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mark__snyder.