SEATTLE, Wash. -- The University of Michigan football team saw Washington score 17 fourth-quarter points to claim a 23-18 victory Saturday (Sept. 8) before a sellout crowd of 74,080 fans at Husky Stadium. Washington (1-0) returned a blocked field goal attempt 77 yards for a touchdown and an interception 21 yards for another score to erase a 12-6 deficit against the Wolverines (1-1).
Senior wide receiver Marquise Walker (Syracuse, N.Y./Henninger HS) led the Wolverines on the day, setting a school record with 15 catches for 159 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He caught six passes that converted third downs for the Wolverines on the day, and tallied 14 points on the afternoon for the Wolverines. Junior/sophomore quarterback John Navarre (Cudahy, Wis./Cudahy HS) set career highs in completions (26) and attempts (44) while passing for 248 yards and two TDs.
Defensively, Michigan kept Washington without a touchdown in the game and allowed just three points on two possessions in which the Huskies had first-and-goal opportunities. Senior inside linebacker Larry Foote (Detroit, Mich./Pershing HS) recorded 12 tackles in the game, including a school-record-tying six tackles for loss.
Michigan gained the first points of the game with 1:58 remaining in the first quarter as Walker blocked the attempted punt by Derek McLaughlin through the end zone for a two-point safety. The block was the third of Walker's career and gave Michigan a 2-0 advantage.
After holding Michigan following the free kick, Washington responded with an eight-play scoring drive to take a 3-2 lead. The Huskies scored on a 43-yard field goal by John Anderson.
Washington scored on its second consecutive possession, but Michigan's defense made it just three points as it thwarted a first-and-goal opportunity from the two-yard line. Anderson capped the nine-play, 55-yard scoring drive with a 26-yard field goal. The Huskies gained the scoring opportunity as Cody Pickett completed a 29-yard pass to Reggie Williams to U-M's two-yard line. Pickett completed all three passes on the drive for 46 yards.
The Wolverines snared the lead with 17 seconds remaining in the first half as Navarre completed a five-yard pass to Walker in the left corner of the end zone for a touchdown and 9-6 halftime advantage. U-M started the drive at UW's 32-yard line after a nine-yard punt return by senior/junior strong safety Julius Curry (Detroit, Mich./Bishop Gallagher HS) following a defensive stand that forced a three-and-out. Navarre tossed a 16-yard pass to tight end Bennie Joppru (Wayzata, Minn./Minnetonka HS) on first down, then found Walker on the final four completions (5, 4, 8 and 5 yards) of the seven-play scoring drive.
Building on the momentum from its final series of the first half, Michigan marched down the field in 13 plays and moved the lead to 12-6 as senior placekicker Hayden Epstein (Cardiff, Calif./Torrey Pines HS) connected on a 38-yard field goal. The Wolverines started with excellent field position at UW 46-yard line after Julius Curry returned the punt 28 yards. U-M moved into scoring territory with strong running, a critical 12-yard third-down pass from Navarre to Walker and a 12-yard double reverse that Walker finished for a 15-yard gain.
Washington started its second possession of the third quarter at the 20-yard line after Epstein booted the ball into the end zone for a touchback. On the initial play, Pickett complete a pass to Reggie Williams, who ran 74 yards before Julius Curry made a touchdown-saving tackle at the six-yard line. With a first-and-goal at the six, the Wolverines defense proceeded to keep the Huskies out of the end zone for the second time in the game. Defensive tackle Jake Frysinger (Grosse Ile, Mich./Grosse Ile HS) sacked Pickett for a seven-yard loss on third down to force a Washington field goal. Anderson pushed the 31-yard attempt wide left and Michigan swept aside the Huskies' scoring chance.
Michigan looked to increase its lead with a 33-yard field goal by Epstein, but Washington made a big special teams play as cornerback Omare Lowe blocked the attempted kick and conerback Roc Alexander returned it 77 yards for the touchdown and 13-12 lead. Two plays into the Wolverines' next series, Lowe intercepted a Navarre pass off sophomore tailback Chris Perry's (Advance, N.C./Fork Union Military, Va.) hands and took it 21 yards for a touchdown and 20-12 Washington lead with 8:20 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Huskies increased their lead to 23-12 with 2:36 remaining as Anderson connected on a 30-yard field goal.
Michigan continued to fight as Navarre led the Wolverines 95 yards in 11 plays and capped the scoring drive with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Walker with 0:49 on the clock. The two-point conversion attempt failed.
Washington recovered the on-side kick attempt and ran out the remaining 47 seconds to claim the 23-18 victory.
Michigan looks to rebound from the defeat as it completes the non-conference season Saturday, Sept. 15, against Western Michigan at the "Big House." The Wolverines and Broncos battle at 12:10 p.m. EDT on ESPN Regional Television.
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