The Michigan Wolverines began the Harbaugh era with a tough 24-17 loss in Salt Lake City. Although the scoreboard doesn’t show what we all had hoped for, I believe this team still proved a few things. Jake Rudock got the start under center, and was 27-43/279 yards/2 tds/3 int. It’s real easy to key in on the 3 interceptions (which were all targets to Grant Perry, and all at key points in the game), but I look at the way he was able to move the ball down the field. That kind of movement is something we rarely saw in the past few seasons. Not to mention, he never once seemed rattled. He had great protection all night, and threw a lot of great passes. The defense also showed multiple times that they have the talent, as long as they can get more support from the offense. This game seemed to provide a different feel in comparison to last season. When Rudock threw his third interception of the night (pick 6), the team didn’t seem deflated. They showed great fight, and for once it seemed like they still wanted the win. Michigan played a good team game, but yet again, like much of last year, turnovers were key in the outcome. With that being said, there were a few guys who shined in the season opener.
Gameball: Jake Butt, Tight End
Jake Butt was the obvious choice. Rudock was able to locate him consistently throughout the game. Butt finished with 8 grabs for 93 yards and a touchdown. Butt’s lone touchdown came on a ball where he was double teamed. Rudock threw the ball high, and the 6’6” tight end went up and hauled it in over two Utah defenders. All game, Butt was receiving praise and comparison to other great Harbaugh tight ends such as Coby Fleener, and Zach Ertz. The talent is certainly there for this guy, and if we can get that kind of production from him all season, there isn’t a doubt in my mind that he will go on to win the Mackey award at the end of the season.
Gameball: Amara Darboh. Wide Reciever
As another obvious choice for a week one game ball, Amara Darboh lead all receivers with 8 catches for 101 yards and a touchdown. Darboh showed great bursts of speed early on, and that never let up. The bubble screen was working for the Wolverines, and they weren’t afraid to go to it often. With a great host of receivers, Amara Darboh should have plenty of opportunities to get open this season and make some big time plays.