Football

Graduate Transfer defensive end Mike Danna earned praise from Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh for his performance.

It was a gamble, and Mike Danna knew it.

Senior guard Michael Onwenu committed to slimming down in the offseason to prepare for the no-huddle tempo.

Last season, Michigan’s offense huddled before every play, taking its good sweet time to get in formation. But under new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis, that’s changed.

Redshirt freshman left tackle Ryan Hayes’ strong showing against Middle Tennessee adds questions surrounding the starting offensive line.

Eight seconds into the first game of his college career, Ryan Hayes faced his first test.

Redshirt freshman Dylan McCaffrey’s role this season as Michigan’s backup quarterback has thus far been in run-option looks and other trick plays.

Still, while Michigan’s quarterback depth is one of this team’s biggest strengths, that doesn’t justify using it on some milquetoast gimmicks. This is not a position in which an excess of quantity on the field generally translates to quality. Frankly, if there is a single important play this season in which Patterson isn’t under center, something has gone wrong or someone has erred.

Freshman running back Zach Charbonnet has already impressed Jim Harbaugh with not just his rushing play but also pass protection.

None of that praise was ill-conceived — after an offseason of questions surrounding the position, Charbonnet gave Michigan some answers. He attacked the holes that opened up for 90 yards on eight carries, including a 41-yard gallop where he blasted through the line, got into the open field and picked up a handful of extra yards once Middle Tennessee State’s defense caught up.

Despite Michigan football’s 40-21 win over Middle Tennessee, the Wolverine defense still hopes to correct sloppy play heading into next week’s game against Army.

Eventually, things reverted to the mean, and the Michigan football team cruised to an easy 40-21 win. But that wasn’t how things were supposed to go for one of the top defenses in the country, facing the No. 101 team in preseason SP+, much less on the first drive.

Senior quarterback Shea Patterson threw for three touchdowns in Michigan's 40-21 win over Middle Tennessee State.

Patterson, in reality, was his own worst public relations manager on a night where. by and large, he played just fine and maybe even better than that.

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The early returns? Some good, some bad and plenty to digest.

Sophomore cornerback Ambry Thomas had an interception in his improbable return in Michigan's season-opener.

Ambry Thomas knew the play Middle Tennessee was about to run. He’d seen it before, a couple plays earlier. He had a feeling he’d be the target.

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The dominant, make-you-read-it-twice scoreline No. 7 Michigan (1-0) might have been hoping for against MTSU (0-1) never came — two turnovers in its own half and inconsistency on the offensive line made sure of that. But the diversity of Gattis’ offense shown through plenty in the Wolverines’ five-touchdown day.