ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The No. 14 University of Michigan football team rode a 10-point halftime lead to a 10-7 victory over Utah this afternoon (Saturday, Sept. 21) at Michigan Stadium. The Wolverines' defense led the way, limiting Utah to only 13 rushing yards on the day.
On offense, receiver Braylon Edwards (Detroit, Mich./Bishop Gallagher HS)
secured the first 100-yard receiving game of his career and led the Maize and Blue in receiving yardage for the fourth straight game. Edwards reeled in nine receptions for 109 yards, both career highs, and U-M's lone touchdown.
Michigan (3-1) was granted its first threatening possession of the game by safety Julius Curry (Detroit, Mich./Bishop Gallagher HS), who picked off a Lance Rice pass and returned it to the Utah 15-yard line. A seven-yard faked field goal rush by Philip Brabbs (Midland, Mich./H.H. Dow HS) put the Wolverines two yards from the goal line, however, Chris Perry (Advance, N.C./Fork Union Military Academy, Va.) fumbled as he dove into the end zone and Utah recovered for a touchback.
Michigan responded on its next possession with a quick, three-play scoring drive. The offense broke out of its slumber with a 44-yard pass to Edwards. Edwards out-jumped a Utah cornerback to haul in the pass at the 10-yard line. Two plays later, Edwards found himself wide open in the left corner of the end zone and was awarded with the football by quarterback John Navarre (Cudahy, Wis./Cudahy HS) to give Michigan a 7-0 lead with 1:39 remaining in the first quarter.
Brabbs extended Michigan's lead to 10-0 with a 37-yard field goal with 4:24 left in the half. The drive spanned 2:30 and covered 46 yards on seven plays. Consecutive rushes by B.J. Askew (Cincinnati, Ohio/Colerain HS) and Tim Bracken (White Castle, La./Saint John HS) for a total of 27 yards chewed up the bulk of the field for Michigan.
Michigan's defense set the tone in first half, holding the Utes to only 84 yards of offense, including just 10 yards on the ground.
After a scoreless third quarter in which neither team was able to reach the red zone, Michigan drove the ball to the 10-yard line five minutes into the fourth quarter and attempted a field goal. Michigan's season-long kicking woes continued though as Brabbs pulled the 27-yard kick wide to the left.
Utah took advantage of Michigan's inability to increase its lead, marching 80 yards downfield to cut the deficit to three points, 10-7, with six minutes left to play. The seven-play drive featured three plays with gains over 22 yards, culminating with a 29-yard touchdown pass from Rice to receiver Travis LaTendresse.
Michigan left the door open for a Utah comeback by missing a 42-yard field goal attempt after it had drained the clock to within the two-minute mark. The Utes could not take advantage of the opportunity, however, as two holding penalties pushed them back to their eight yard-line. Forced to make up ground quickly, Utah went to the air with less than a minute left, and Curry sealed the three-point U-M win with his second interception of the game.
Michigan opens the Big Ten Conference season at Illinois next Saturday (Sept. 28) in Champaign, Ill. The game will start at 2:30 p.m. CDT and be televised by ABC Sports.
Contact: David Ablauf, Jim Schneider (734) 763-4423