The key for the rebuilding Miami RedHawks this season is straightforward: show improvement in every game. The defense met this goal, turning in a respectable performance against a team that's much larger in the trenches and creating two turnovers. The offense, on the other hand, took a huge step backward, apart from about two minutes in the second quarter.
The real story of Miami's 34-10 loss to Michigan at the Big House wasn't the absence of the Wolverines' Devin Funchess, Brady Hoke's boneheaded delay of game on 4th and 1 coming off a timeout, or the two turnovers that led directly to Miami's scoring on the day. It was Miami's pre-snap offense, which committed six pre-snap penalties, including three false starts from right tackle Collin Buchanan. The defense held up its end of the bargain, but once again, like against Eastern Kentucky, the offense shot itself in the foot, resulting in plenty of short fields for the Wolverines.
After a lengthy opening kick return, the RedHawks' defense managed to hold Michigan to a field goal from Matt Wile. But the Miami penalty blues began on the next drive, with a false start against Buchanan immediately followed by a delay of game call, leading to a Jourdan Lewis interception of an Andrew Hendrix pass deep in Miami territory. Michigan quickly converted the turnover with a 17-yard pass from Devin Gardner to Amara Darboh.
In the first drive of the second quarter, the RedHawks looked no better, with a lengthy completion undone by an ineligible receiver who hadn't lined up correctly before the snap. Another Buchanan false start on 3rd and 1 spelled the end of that drive.
On the next Michigan possession, Quinten Rollins showed why he's perhaps the most exciting player on the Miami defense, intercepting a pass from Gardner and giving Miami a short field to work with. A twenty-yard pass from Hendrix to Dawan Scott, followed by short runs from Scott and Spencer Treadwell, led to a Kaleb Patterson field goal. Michigan fumbled the ensuing kickoff, which led to a touchdown pass to Scott, and in the space of about two minutes, Miami had tied the game.
It was by far the best the offense would look all day.
Michigan's offensive line took over on the next drive as the Wolverines marched the ball straight down the field in six plays, and Derrick Green rammed the ball into the end zone from the 1-yard line.
In the third quarter, Michigan tight end Jake Butt, who spent most of the game in a blocking role, got the chance to shine as a receiver, accounting for over fifty yards and a touchdown through the air as the Wolverines extended their lead to 24-10.
As the fourth quarter opened, the RedHawks found themselves in no-man's land on the Michigan 27, facing a fourth and nine that was outside of Kaleb Patterson's range. So of course there was a false start on tight end Alex Welch (who, as a fifth-year transfer with major college experience, really should know better) that left Miami staring down a fourteen-yard gap. Hendrix's pass to Rokeem Williams was incomplete, and that was it for any chance of Miami actually being in the game. Michigan ate about five minutes of clock before Green ran for the game-icing touchdown, and the Wolverines' second string took the ball down the field for a late field goal to close the scoring.
Michigan moved to 2-1 on the season, while Miami fell to 0-3. And despite an obviously empty Michigan Stadium, the Wolverines' streak of games with over 100,000 in attendance was maintained with a suspect count of over 102,000.