ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight had his first setback on Saturday. After shining in the first two games of the season, Speight looked lackluster against Colorado.
The rough stuff started early. The top-10 Buffaloes defense came in hot, hitting Speight on the second offensive series the game to force a fumble that the defense would score on and leave Speight’s elbow tweaked for the remainder of the game.
“The elbow is just hurting from the fumble,” Speight said with his entire arm wrapped in ice while he met with the media. “I was just like ‘wow, that hurt’ (after taking that hit.) I had never been hit like that before — it was completely blind. I was kind of in shock because I realized what happened, looked up and saw them dancing in the end zone.”
Speight began to settle in after the first quarter and looked better in the pocket. While he didn’t look like he had the past two weeks, he was able to lead Michigan to a 45-28 victory as the offense and special teams continue to put points on the board.
“I was forcing things early, but later in the second quarter I started hitting my check-downs and moving the chains,” Speight said. “That’s all that matters, moving the ball down the field.”
Speight chatted privately with former Michigan great Tom Brady before the game. Brady’s message to him — and his message to the entire team — resonated with the Michigan starting quarterback as he took the field Saturday. His play wasn’t as great as the message, but he’ll never forget it.
“Coach grabbed me out of my locker, and I went to shake (Tom Brady’s) hand. His message to the team before the game really fired us up. He told us that each position group represents the ones before them,” Speight said. “That gave me the mindset that if he wants me to play better than him and make him proud, then that’s what I have to do. Did I do that today? No, but that’s the mindset you have to have.”
A bad day usually results in multiple turnovers and a bad completion percentage for most quarterbacks. Sleight had the fumble early, but for the second straight week finished with zero interceptions. His one touchdown pass was his eighth of the season, with only one interception. He finished 16-for-20 passing, with 229 yards.
It was not that bad of a day on paper for Speight. But it wasn’t a great day, either. Still, a win is a win, and he can build on it from here.