With all five teams from the state of Michigan in the FBS kicking off this week, we recap all the important news and takeaways from a more or less successful first week for the state.
State of Michigan Football Report
Michigan State 45, Jacksonville State 7
In a game that was never close, the Spartans warmed up for their true opener next week at Oregon. Connor Cook was hit on the left knee by a diving Jacksonville State player and was helped off the field, before returning to action the next series and looking no worse for wear. Cook actually threw a touchdown on that play, and then again on the next series. Both went to Tony Lippett for over 60 yards.
Cook had a good connection going with both Lippett and A.J. Troup, both of whom should be key players in the Spartans passing game this season. Redshirt senior Nick Hill also looked good when spelling starting running back Jeremy Langford, showing that the team is not just a defensive squad, but also has depth on offense as well.
However, Cook was not the only who one who got dinged up on Friday night. Langford, receiver Macgarrett Kings, and guard Travis Jackson all had to be taken off the field. It’s not known exactly how serious the injuries are, or whether they will affect the players’ ability to be on the field at Autzen next Saturday. All hands will need to be on deck for the Spartans to slow down the high-octane Ducks offense, and keep up with them scoring-wise.
Michigan 52, Appalachian State 14
This is a game that most Wolverine fans just wanted to be over, given the bad memories and national attention this relatively meaningless game drummed up. Unlike when the Mountaineers last played in the Big House, there was no chance of an upset, as this App State team was nowhere near their 2007 iteration.
Not only did Michigan’s offense look stellar, with three touchdowns from Devin Gardner to Devin Funchess, and 100 yards apiece for Derrick Green and De’Veon Smith, but their defense looked improved as well, especially in the secondary. Their defensive backs were physical both over the middle and at the line of scrimmage, breaking up several would-be completions to App State receivers.
The game was not a flawless victory, however, as five-star recruit Jabrille Peppers went down with an ankle injury in the first half and did not return. Peppers was named as the starting nickel back, and was also the team’s punt returner. Coach Brady Hoke confirmed after the game that he will be available for next week. The second string defense was also somewhat porous in the second half, as App State managed to score two touchdowns, albeit in garbage time. The Wolverines will really be tested next week when they travel to South Bend in their final meeting with the Fighting Irish for the foreseeable future.
Central Michigan 20, Chattanooga 16
After falling behind by 16 points to the Mocs, Central Michigan rallied behind sophomore quarterback Cooper Rush and Michigan transfer Thomas Rawls to score 20 answered points and shut out Chattanooga in the second half. Chips wide receicer Titus Davis was surprisingly quiet, only hauling in a single reception, but did return a punt for 66 yards. The defense managed to intercept four passes, two of them by Tony Anesse.
Western Michigan 34, Purdue 43
Western Michigan easily had the toughest opponent in the state this week, though that’s not saying a whole lot. Both teams only won a single game last year, but managed to play a compelling game—good news for the Broncos, not so good news for the Boilermakers, even in the win. Both running games were impressive, scoring three touchdowns each, with a pair added by both passing games. But it was the leg of Paul Griggs that secured the victory for Purdue, kicking three field goals to top the Broncos.
Eastern Michigan 31, Morgan State 28
Eastern Michigan debuted their new gray turf at Rynearson Stadium, which Coach Chris Creighton believed would reflect the “courage and conviction” which his new team will play with. It took all that and for the Eagles to top the Bears by a fourth quarter field goal. The passing game was abysmal for the Eagles, failing to eclipse the 100-yard mark and having to let running backs Bronson Hill and Darius Jackson key them to victory. Creighton may have his work cut out for him with this team, despite the victory.
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