Big Ten | Football | University of Michigan

Live blog: Michigan at UConn

Coming off a narrow victory against Akron last week, Michigan hits the road for the first time this season and its second night game, against Connecticut. Follow along as Angelique S. Chengelis provides live updates throughout the game.

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 Michigan won’t get many style points, but the Wolverines are 4-0.

The Wolverines escape Rentschler Field with a slim 24-21 victory over UConn.

It is the second week in a row Michigan has struggled against a team that, on paper, was weak in most phases of the game.

The Wolverines had to overcome four turnovers and had a strong second-half showing from the defense, which for the second weak in a row was the difference. 

Michigan failed on a fourth-and-two with 11:32 left in the game when quarterback Devin Gardner appeared close to the first down but fumbled, then recovered it way short.

The Michigan defense, however, came up with its biggest play of the game on the next UConn series, when Desmond Morgan made a one-handed interception of Chandler Whitmer. That gave Michigan the ball at the UConn 12-yard line, and Fitz Toussaint scored on a 12-yard run, his second touchdown of the game.

That tied the game, 21-21.

The Wolverines took the lead on their next possession, adding a 21-yard field goal by Brendan Gibbons for the 24-21 advantage with 4:37 remaining.

A sack by Frank Clark that put UConn in fourth and 29 essentially sealed the game. UConn was three yards short on its fourth-down pass.

 

 

Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said in a halftime interview with the U-M radio network that the defense had to win the game.

The defense gave the Wolverines a boost in the fourth quarter when Desmond Morgan made an impressive one-handed interception to give Michigan the ball at the UConn 12 yard line.

Fitz Toussaint then got his second touchdown of the game on a 12-yard run to tie the game, 21-21.

 

Michigan tailback Fitz Toussaint, on a pitch from quarterback Devin Gardner, ran 35 yards for  a touchdown with 5:37 left in the third quarter.

The Wolverines have struggled the entire game, in large part because of four turnovers.

Michigan is ranked No. 15 and 3-0 entering this game at UConn, the Wolverines’ first road game of the season. The Huskies are 0-2 including an opening-season loss to Towson, an FCS school.

 

Michigan’s problems keep getting worse at UConn.

The 15th-ranked Wolverines, a week after barely beating lowly Akron, are now trailing UConn, 21-7, early in the second half.

Michigan has four turnovers, including quarterback Devin Gardner’s three turnovers — two interceptions and a fumble.

On Michigan’s first drive of the second half, Gardner, on third down and one, ran into a lineman and fumbled the ball. UConn recovered and returned it 34 yards for the score.

 

Michigan struggled a week ago against lowly Akron and players called the performance “embarrassing.”

And now, the 15th-ranked Wolverines are struggling at UConn, a team that has been at the bottom of the barrel in most statistical categories on both sides of the ball.

UConn leads 14-7 at halftime taking advantage of Michigan’s miscues.

Earlier in the week, Michigan coach Brady Hoke, when asked why his team has struggled on the road in his two previous seasons — the Wolverines were 2-4 last season — summed it up simply: “Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers.”

In the first half against the Huskies, Michigan has two interceptions and one fumble, on a punt return that hit off Da’Mario Jones and was recovered at the U-M 9-yard line by UConn, setting up the the Huskies’ final score.

Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner has struggled. He is 5-of-13 and was 0-for-5 on pass attempts in the second quarter. Gardner has two interceptions, giving him eight for the season. He ran for Michigan’s only score of the game.

 

Michigan coach Brady Hoke said this week his team has had problems the last two years on the road for one simple reason.

“Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers,” Hoke said.

Well, turnovers have been the major issue for Michigan, as the 15th-ranked Wolverines trail UConn 14-7 with 1:47 left in the first half.

Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner threw his second interception of the game — and eighth of the season — late in the half, and then the Wolverines had a miscue in punt coverage after UConn had to punt. The ball bounced off Da’Mario Jones and UConn recovered at the Michigan 9-yard line.

The Huskies scored two plays later to take the lead.

Michigan has had road issues the last few years under coach Brady Hoke, and they’re continuing at UConn.

The 15th-ranked Wolverines have just allowed an 11-yard touchdown pass on third-down and 11 and the Huskies have tied the game, 7-7, at Rentschler Field.

Chandler Whitmer’s pass was to tight end Spencer Paker, a walk-on.

UConn appeared to score earlier in the drive, but a 39-yard touchdown pass that beat Michigan cornerback Courtney Avery was overturned. The Huskies marched right back and made the game-tying score.

Michigan has 120 yards to UConn’s 95.

Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner now has two interceptions. He threw deep on first down with just more than three minutes left in the half after the UConn score and was picked off. That’s his eighth interception of the season. Gardner also scored on a 17-yard run.

 

Michigan benefited from a pass-interference call and has taken the early lead at UConn.

On third down and long, UConn was called for pass interference giving Michigan the ball at the Huskies’ 15-yard line.

After a two-yard loss by tailback Fitz Toussaint, quarterback Devin Gardner, on third down and 12, ran 17 yards for the touchdown, giving Michigan a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter.

Michigan’s first possession ended with a turnover. Devin Gardner threw an interception on third down. It was his seventh interception of the season — he also has thrown seven touchdowns.

 

Michigan, ranked 15th and unbeaten, is trying to shrug off a poor performance agains Akron a week ago.

But it hasn’t started particularly well for the Wolverines in their first road game of the season at UConn at 40,000-seat Rentschler Field.

After a solid showing by the defense, Michigan’s first possession of the game ended with an interception by Devin Gardner on third down and seven at the UConn 34-yard line.

It was Gardner’s seventh interception of the season. He has thrown seven touchdowns.

 

 

Michigan players all week assured their intensity level in practice was restored to the same it had been heading into the Notre Dame game.

A week after the 15th-ranked Wolverines (3-0) nearly slipped against Akron at Michigan Stadium – the narrow 28-24 victory dipped Michigan four spots in the AP poll – they are on the road for the first time this season.

They face winless UConn at cozy, 40,000-seat Rentschler Field tonight at 8, and the Wolverines should have plenty of room to run against one of the nation’s worst rushing defenses. And Michigan should have little trouble defending one of the worst rushing offenses, and should pad a few stats against a team that has allowed 10 sacks.

There were no noticeable absences on the Michigan depth chart released Saturday night.

Weather could be a factor tonight, however, with a rain/thunderstorm system moving into the greater Hartford area.

For the Wolverines, in their third season under Brady Hoke, winning on the road has been tough. Last season, they were 2-4, including a loss to Alabama at a neutral site.

“Turnovers. Turnovers. Turnovers,” Hoke said this week, when about the road woes.

In those losses to Alabama, Notre Dame, Nebraska and Ohio State, the Wolverines had 12 interceptions and four fumbles. Michigan had 18 interceptions during the entire season.

“We haven’t been a great road team road,” said quarterback Devin Gardner. “We haven’t won them. I can’t tell you one particular thing that stopped us from winning on the road. You could say we’re not focused enough or maybe not tough enough, but that’s something we’re trying to shake.”

Gardner had a few turnovers last week in the game Michigan nearly lost to Akron. He had a fumble and three interceptions. This season, he has thrown seven touchdowns to six interceptions.

But there were more issues than just the turnovers last week. The pass rush, advertised coming into the season as a bonafide quarterback-rattling force, hasn’t been able to apply as much pressure as anticipated. UConn, however, has allowed 10 sacks this season.

And the Michigan offensive line, while inexperienced at the three interior positions, was expected to open holes for the tailbacks to gain big yards. There have been times lead back Fitz Toussaint has had big runs, but the line has lacked consistency.