ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The Michigan football team won its home opener Saturday at Michigan Stadium, but it didn’t come without a few tense moments.
The No. 8 Wolverines (2-0) defeated Cincinnati (1-1) 36-14, but struggled to create separation (and a fluid offense) through much of the second and third quarters. Michigan also handed Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell his first loss as coach of the Bearcats; Fickell faced the Wolverines for the 21st time in his career . Saturday was Fickell’s first time coming to Ann Arbor not a part of the Ohio State program.
Cincinnati-Michigan live updates, score
FINAL SCORE: Michigan 36, Cincinnati 14.
Michigan 36, Cincinnati 14 (4:21, 4Q): Lavert Hill notches Michigan’s second pick-6 of the day, and gives Michigan a 22-point lead with a 24-yard interception return. That’s the likely dagger in this one.
First pair of brothers in school history to both have a pick-six. #TheHillBrothers
— Michael Spath (@MichaelSpathITH) September 9, 2017
Michigan 29, Cincinnati 14 (6:53, 4Q): Cincinnati has struggled with its snaps on special teams, and it caught up in the fourth quarter, when punter James Smith was unable to hang onto a snap and batted it out of the end zone, which gave Michigan a safety.
Michigan 27, Cincinnati 14 (9:02, 4Q): Michigan lined up at the Cincinnati 6 on fourth-and-4, but then called a timeout. Quinn Nordin kicked his second field goal — 24 yards — to push Michigan’s lead to 13. Not a lot of messing around in the red zone on that call.
Another statistical update, courtesy of Michigan Twitter:
— Michigan Football (@UMichFootball) September 9, 2017
Michigan 24, Cincinnati 14 (12:21, 4Q): Ty Isaac just eclipsed 100 yards rushing with a 53-yard carry. He has 131 yards on 16 carries against the Bearcats, for his second straight game with at least 100 yards rushing.
Question in the press box: Why doesn’t Isaac have more carries?
Michigan 24, Cincinnati 14 (14:15, 4Q): Officials reviewed a 15-yard penalty on Michigan defensive end Rashan Gary, but deemed that there was no targeting Gary on Hayden Moore. (Which begs the question: How exactly is targeting defined? It’s a neverending, subjective question in college football.)
Gary, however, responded two plays later with a physical hurry of Moore.
111,384 is today's announced attendance at Michigan Stadium. I'd say a few of them have been surprised by how this game is going.
— Rachel Lenzi (@RLenziCMG) September 9, 2017
End of the third quarter: Michigan 24, Cincinnati 14. Michigan is at its 29-yard-line and two plays into a drive that will bridge the third and fourth quarters.
Michigan 24, Cincinnati 14 (3:01, 3Q): Michigan is slowly churning out offense, and the groans from the crowd are becoming less audible. Michigan’s tight ends, particularly Sean McKeon and Zach Gentry are becoming Speight’s preferred targets.
Finally, though, Speight connects with Grant Perry with 3:01 left in the third quarter for a 33-yard touchdown.
Michigan 17, Cincinnati 14 (9:15, 3Q): Michigan’s penalties are also piling up. Offensive lineman Nolan Ulizio was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct, bringing the team total to five penalties for 43 yards. They’re not smart penalties, either, and are impeding any progress in an offense that’s already been inconsistent today and is holding a 3-point lead.
Time of possession has also been relatively even (relatively — some might be shocked by it). Cincinnati 18:30 to Michigan’s 17:15.
Michigan 17, Cincinnati 14 (11:15, 3Q): Hayden Moore’s 46-yard run put Cincinnati at the Michigan 12 about three minutes into the second half, and two plays later, Moore connected with Kahlil Lewis for a 10-yard touchdown that cut Michigan’s lead to three.
Now, here’s where we see how Michigan responds.
At the half: Michigan 17, Cincinnati 7: Josh Pasley’s 51-yard field goal attempt was short as time expired.
A few halftime stats:
- Michigan has four sacks, including two by Khaleke Hudson.
- Devin Bush has five tackles, a sack and a pass breakup.
- Wilton Speight is 9-for-13 passing for 112 yards and a touchdown.
- Kekoa Crawford has two catches for 57 yards and a touchdown.
- Ty Isaac has 10 carries for 49 yards.
Michigan 17, Cincinnati 7 (2:32, 2Q): Michigan is challenging the officials’ ruling of an incomplete pass on third-and-5 from Wilton Speight to Grant Perry. It initially appeared the pass caromed off the grass and into Perry’s hands, but replays show Perry appeared to make an extremely low catch in coverage.
The ruling on the field stands after review, per officials.
Harbaugh walked with the ref and then gave him a dismissive wave with his left hand LOL
— angelique (@chengelis) September 9, 2017
Michigan 17, Cincinnati 7 (5:23, 2Q): Michigan has sacked Cincinnati quarterback Hayden Moore three times in the first half, including Khaleke Hudson’s hit on third-and-9 that forced the Bearcats to punt.
Michigan 17, Cincinnati 7 (9:35, 2Q): Turnovers are becoming an issue for Michigan. Cortez Broughton recovers a fumble on a handoff by Speight that was intended for Kekoa Crawford; Cincinnati has recovered two of Michigan’s three fumbles so far today.
Michigan 17, Cincinnati 7 (13:23, 2Q): Tyree Kinnel adds to his pick-6 with a monster sack on Cincinnati QB Hayden Moore, who dropped back from the UC 44- and whose back was turned on the play. Cincinnati lost eight yards on the play.
Michigan 17, Cincinnati 7 (14:03 2Q): Quinn Nordin hits a reasonable 28-yard field goal (a week after hitting multiple 50-yarders against Florida). Michigan had the chance to take a 14-point lead, but Speight fumbled on first-and goal from the Cincinnati 3, bobbling the ball as he dropped back and covered it at the 10.
End of the first quarter: Michigan 14, Cincinnati 7: Michigan, however, is driving. Peoples-Jones’ 44-yard dash on a reverse put Michigan at the Cincinnati 13, and Chris Evans followed with a 10-yard run.
Michigan 14, Cincinnati 7 (4:45 1Q): Cincinnati’s drive is revived; its punt bounced off Michigan’s Benjamin St-Juste as Donovan Peoples-Jones went to field the kick. Cincinnati started at the Michigan 38 and has reached the 5. A pass interference call against Lavert Hill put Cincinnati at the 2, and Mike Boone scores on a 1-yard run on third-and-goal with 2:13 left.
The touchdown stood after review, but Cincinnati took a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct against Boone, which is being enforced on the kickoff.
Michigan 14, Cincinnati 0 (6:50, 1Q): Michigan safety Tyree Kinnel intercepted Cincinnati quarterback Hayden Moore’s pass, intended for receiver Devin Gray, at the Cincinnati 28-yard line, and returned the ball for Michigan’s second touchdown.
Cincinnati is struggling to move the ball — only 10 yards in the games first eight minutes — and has accrued those yards in short-gain plays.
(Side note: Michigan is honoring its Big Ten championship men’s basketball team and women’s NIT championship team, and D.J. Wilson is in attendance in the north end zone. Also, Chase Winovich has dyed his shoulder-length hair white-blonde.)
— Michigan Basketball (@umichwbball) September 9, 2017
Michigan 7, Cincinnati 0 (11:54, 1Q): Michigan turned to the pass, and Wilton Speight found Kekoa Crawford for a 43-yard touchdown pass three minutes into the game. Speight and Crawford had trouble developing a rhythm last week against Florida. That doesn’t seem to be an issue now.
1Q, 12:38: Michigan running back Ty Isaac has accounted for all 23 of Michigan’s yards on its first drive, before Wilton Speight’s second-down pass to Tarik Black. Isaac earned the start and has been running strong so far.
Michigan is on the field, warming up in the north end zone at Michigan Stadium.
Michigan center Cesar Ruiz is wearing No. 96 instead of No. 51. With the number change, Ruiz is eligible to play at tackle.
DBs Brandon Watson and David Long are warming up for Michigan. Earlier this week, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said they were being evaluated following the Michigan-Florida game.
An update on Kareem Walker:
Kareem Walker is in sweat pants
— Adam Biggers (@AdamBiggers81) September 9, 2017
Michigan-Cincinnati game time, details
Time: Noon ET
Date: Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017
Location: Ann Arbor, Mich.
Weather: Mostly sunny, high 67 degrees, 10 percent chance of rain.
The line: Michigan -34.5
What TV channel is showing Michigan-Cincinnati?
The Michigan-Cincinnati game will be televised nationally on ABC.
How can I watch Michigan-Cincinnati online?
The Michigan-Cincinnati game can be watched online at WatchESPN.
How can I listen to Michigan-Cincinnati on the radio?
Cincinnati has played just one game under Fickell but Michigan has already have seen similarities between its opponent’s game against Austin Peay and what Fickell liked to do as an assistant coach at Ohio State. Fickell will have plenty of insights into how to attack the Wolverines and handle the atmosphere at Michigan Stadium.
Having a plan and executing it are two different things, however. The players Fickell had on defense at Ohio State aren’t the ones he has at Cincinnati. Just as Michigan is incorporating new starters into its lineup, so too is Cincinnati. The Bearcats had 18 players make their Division I college debut against Austin Peay, and more than two-thirds of their roster is made up of freshmen, redshirt freshmen and sophomores. The upperclassmen are in key spots, including junior quarterback Hayden Moore, senior running back Mike Boone, and junior defensive tackles Marquise Copeland and Cortez Broughton.
The Wolverines’ defense couldn’t have played much better against Florida, allowing just 192 yards, 9 first downs and 3 points in the 33-17 victory. The Wolverines produced 11 tackles for loss among eight players, including 6 sacks for minus-35 yards by five players. Florida managed just 11 yards net rushing. Boone had more than 100 yards for Cincinnati against Austin Peay but expect Moore to attack the secondary. Pick your poison with this defense because it will be tough to sustain drives on a consistent basis against the Wolverines with all the speed they possess at all three levels on defense.
Middle linebacker Devin Bush Jr. had a spectacular first start against Florida, totaling 7 tackles with 3 tackles for loss and 2 sacks. He epitomized the aggressive play of the entire Wolverines defense. The big test this week for the unit is to bring that same intensity.
Offensively, coach Jim Harbaugh and passing game coordinator Pep Hamilton want to see better accuracy from quarterback Wilton Speight. He’s got the mental and physical toughness for the job, but he had too many high throws against Florida. Two of his passes were intercepted and returned for touchdowns; one was off receiver Kekoa Crawford’s hands but the other was a bad throw on Speight’s part. He missed Crawford for what should have been a touchdown on a sideline pattern in the fourth quarter and overthrew a couple of other deep sideline passes, never giving receivers a chance at a catch.