By Terrance Turner
Sept. 3, 2022
Today, Week 1 of the college football season kicked off when the University of Michigan Wolverines faced off against the Colorado State Rams. The atmosphere was palpable: thousands of fans filled the stadium in Ann Arbor, sporting the college colors of maize and blue.
The game was broadcast on ABC, beginning at 11 am CST. Sports analyst and former NFL quarterback Robert Griffin III led off the telecast by walking alongside Michigan players as they prepared to run out of the tunnel. “I’ve played a lot of football,” Griffin said, “but I’ve never experienced anything quite like this.”
Michigan went three-and-out on its opening possession. But just five minutes into the first quarter, the Wolverines became the first team to score. Wide receiver Roman Wilson caught a screen pass and took off. Evading Rams defenders, Wilson dashed on tiptoe down the sideline and ran into the end zone for a 61-yard touchdown.
Both quarterbacks traded interceptions on their ensuing drives. Colorado State QB Clay Millen’s pass got picked off, setting up Michigan in the red zone. But Michigan QB Cade McNamara also got picked — though the interception was later overturned upon review. Michigan retained possession and went up 10-0 after kicker Jake Moody nailed a field goal.
On its subsequent drive, Colorado State went three-and-out, leading to a long scoring drive by Michigan. The Wolverines’ 14-play drive stretched to the end of the first quarter and into the second, culminating in another field goal by Moody. Michigan extended its lead to thirteen.
Colorado State punted (again) and on Michigan’s next drive, J.J McCarthy came in at QB, the first sign of an unconventional QB competition for Michigan. Coach Jim Harbaugh plans to start McNamara this week and start McCarthy next week. Asked who he intends to choose and how, Harbaugh said he wasn’t sure: “No person — that’s biblical — no person knows what the future holds.” (He was referencing the book of Ecclesiastes, according to Griffin.)
When McNamara returned, he was sacked by the Rams defense. Colorado State took possession, but Millen, too, got sacked — on back-to-back plays. The Wolverines took over. Michigan running back Blake Corum rushed 19 yards to first and goal, then powered his way into the end zone. Using his strong, powerful legs — “thicker than a Snicker,” one commentator said — Corum ran past the goal line for a seven-yard score. Michigan went up 20-0.
Perhaps sensing the need to score quickly, Colorado State decided to go for it on 4th down. But Millen was sacked (again) by the Wolverines, who then took over. Their offense ignited again courtesy of a huge catch by tight end Erick All, who’s having a memorable day: at 7:30 AM his girlfriend gave birth to their son! (Houston Xavier All is eight pounds, four ounces.) All placed the Wolverines within field goal range, and Moody drilled a 34-yard field goal to put them up 23-0 at the half.
Michigan kept the scoring going in the second half, but this time the defense that generated points. Millen got hit and fumbled the ball; Michigan’s DJ Turner scooped the ball up and scored, putting the Wolverines ahead 30-0. Then, after yet another Colorado State punt, Blake Corum hurdled over a defender for an 11-yard gain.
Two plays later, McNamara located running back Donovan Edwards for a four-yard gain, and a two-yard rush by Edwards helped convert a 4th and 1 into a first down. Shortly afterward, McCarthy took over as quarterback and rushed into the end zone for the touchdown.
Donovan Edwards later scored a TD of his own, giving Michigan a commanding 44-0 lead. Colorado State finally reached the end zone when Millen found wide receiver Tory Horton for a 34-yard score, with 8:59 left in the fourth quarter. But Michigan answered with another long-winded drive, picking up yards by running the ball (and running down the clock). They advanced to first and goal, and backup QB Alex Orji rushed four yards for a touchdown.
Michigan won, 51-7.