Michigan Wolverines: Past Loss and Bad Taste Erased with Win


Aug 30, 2014; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines defensive end

Brennen Beyer

(97) defensive back

Delonte Hollowell

(24) running back De

Fans of the Michigan Wolverines started to breathe about six minutes into the game. Devin Gardner connected with Devin Funchess for a nine yard touchdown pass, and Michigan took the lead.


Any thoughts of Appalachian State scoring first and going onto an improbable second victory over Michigan were squashed as the Wolverines scored again with the clock winding down on the first quarter. It was again Gardner to Funchess, a combination that will likely occur a lot over the year.

From there, the floodgates opened up. Michigan scored four more touchdowns before the Mountaineers could muster up a touchdown. Appalachian State would score once more, but the Wolverines responded with another touchdown and a field goal for good measure. The final score was Michigan Wolverines 52, Appalachian State 14.

What We Learned:

  • Appalachian State had a great football team in 2007, when they concocted the perfect storm of talent, luck, and an unprepared Michigan team to win in the Big House. This time around, there was little doubt about who was the better team, even with the Mountaineers move to Division I.
  • Funchess and Gardner are going to be a lethal combination. Gardner is known for locking into favorite targets, as noted by Jeremy Gallon having over 1300 yards of receiving last year. Starting off this year, it’s clear that Funchess will be the go to receiver, as he scored the first three touchdowns.
  • Michigan has two very capable running backs coming out of the backfield. Both Derrick Green and De’Veon Smith had difficult first years, with Green battling weight problems and Smith being left off the traveling squad. It appears that both are primed for great seasons. Green ran for 170 yards, while Smith rattled off 115. It would be hard to classify one as better than another.
  • Does this spell positive things for the offensive line? It was a major concern for the Wolverines coming into this year, losing two NFL draft picks off a line that struggled to generate a push. It’s probably a little too early to tell, as the Mountaineers defense is nowhere near the Big Ten opponents Michigan will face.
  • Everyone has been waiting for speedster Dennis Norfleet to get some action on the offensive side of the ball, as every fan wanted to see his quickness utilized on something other than kickoffs. He didn’t disappoint, showing his shiftiness with three catches for 30 yards.
  • Devin Gardner only missed one pass, one that went just a little behind Devin Funchess. This is huge for the Wolverines, because last year there was always the fear that Gardner would turn the ball over. He was accurate and poised all game, and this could be the year he unleashes his full potential.
  • Jabril Peppers is going to be fun to watch. He only had a couple of tackles, but one was a monster hit. Other than that, he stuck to his marks and walked the line between tight coverage and coverage that could draw a flag.
  • The entire defense played well. Frank Clark looked ready to build on last season, showing discipline on an option play that he snuffed out. The rest of the defense did well, especially on third downs.

The Michigan Wolverines play Notre Dame next week in South Bend. This game always promises excitement, and will be the last time the teams play each other for the foreseeable future. Tune into NBC on 7:30 next week to see if Michigan can add a big early season win to their resume.