Wolverines improve to 3-0 with win over EaglesPublished 11:41pm Saturday, September 19, 2009
ANN ARBOR - After a closely-contested first half, the No. 25-ranked University of Michigan football team posted a 21-0 second-half scoring advantage to defeat Eastern Michigan, 45-17, on Saturday at Michigan Stadium.
Michigan’s strong running game paved the way in the victory, U-M’s 875th all-time, with a total of 380 yards on the ground.
In the first half alone, Carlos Brown posted 163 yards on eight carries in addition to his two rushing touchdowns. He finished the game, which was highlighted with a 90-yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter, with 187 yards and was named the Big Ten Network Player of the Game. Freshman quarterback Denard Robinson ran for two touchdowns in the second half, racking up 60 yards on three attempts. Michael Shaw also added a rushing touchdown and registered 53 yards on nine carries.
In the air, freshman quarterback Tate Forcier completed 7-of-13 attempts for 68 yards, including a 26-yard reception early in the second quarter to Martavious Odoms . Odoms topped Michigan’s receivers with 33 yards on two receptions. He also added a 13-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter.
Kevin Leach led the defense with 10 tackles, which were closely followed by Obi Ezeh‘s nine. Freshman outside linebacker Craig Roh added seven tackles, including a tackle for loss, assisted on a sack and recorded an interception late in the third.
Michigan started its opening drive on its own 49-yard line thanks to a partially-blocked 23-yard punt by EMU. On the first snap, Brown broke for 30 yards to bring the Wolverines into the Eastern Michigan red zone. The Maize and Blue took advantage of the field position, getting on the scoreboard first with a 37-yard field goal kick by Jason Olesnavage to make it 3-0.
The Eagles evened the game up at three points apiece on the ensuing 49-yard drive, ending the series with a 47-yard field goal. The Maize and Blue defense limited EMU to a field-goal attempt with the help of two tackles each from Renaldo Sagesse and Ezeh.
The Wolverines responded in their next possession, adding seven points to their point total. Strong running from Brown and Minor, who combined for 46 yards on seven plays, marched Michigan down the field. An 11-yard reception from Forcier to Kelvin Grady placed the Wolverines on the EMU five. Brown later forced his way into the end zone, rushing nine yards for the touchdown, which stood after a review of the play.
EMU followed up with a score of its own when quarterback Andy Schmitt ran 11 yards to score the equalizer.
The offensive flurry continued as the Maize and Blue pushed 69 yards up the field to regain the lead, 17-10. Odoms hauled in a 26-yard pass from Forcier to open the series. Shaw rushed 34 yards in the drive’s final three plays, including a 22-yard carry and a five-yard touchdown.
Brown then sprinted down the field for a career-best, 90-yard touchdown, which was the third-longest rushing touchdown in program history, to hand Michigan its first double-digit lead of the game with over seven minutes remaining in the second quarter.
EMU running back Dwayne Priest carried the ball for each of the six snaps in the following drive for Eastern Michigan, rushing a total of 36 yards and for the touchdown to bring the Eagles within seven near the end of the first half.
After the onslaught of offense in the first half, both teams cooled down offensively until midway through the second quarter when a slick reverse play allowed Odoms to dash 13 yards into the end zone, making it 31-17 with less than five minutes left in the third quarter.
As Ezeh rushed up to Schmitt, he tipped the Eastern Michigan quarterback’s pass, which Roh was there to grab with one hand. Forcier was later sent to the sidelines after a hard hit, causing Robinson to sub in at quarterback. Two plays later, Robinson charged into the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown and a 38-17 lead.
Michigan kept Eastern Michigan scoreless in the second half when the Maize and Blue defense stalled a 55-yard drive by EMU that ended on the Wolverines’ five-yard line. U-M continued its success on defense as Brandon Graham picked up a fumble by the Eagles’ quarterback on the subsequent Eastern Michigan drive.
Robinson dodged multiple defenders and sprinted 36 yards en route to the end zone for his second rushing touchdown of the contest, capping a 46-yard Michigan drive in a span of two plays late in the fourth.
The Wolverines finish up their four-game home stand next Saturday when they host Indiana at Michigan Stadium for homecoming. The game will start at noon, but the network broadcasting the game is still to be determined.