No. 4 Michigan still untested, faces Colorado
Michigan hasn't been tested and has jumped to No. 4 in the rankings.
And it doesn't appear the Wolverines will face much of a test in their third game either.
Michigan (2-0) hosts Colorado on Saturday in a nonconference affair televised by the Big Ten Network. While the Buffaloes are 2-0 and have outscored their opponents 100-14, the victories are against Colorado State and Idaho State.
Colorado also has dropped 22 consecutive matchups against ranked opponents.
Then again, the Wolverines played Hawaii and Central Florida while winning their first two games by a cumulative 114-17. And coach Jim Harbaugh agreed that his team has a lot to work on after there were some uneven moments during last Saturday's 37-point victory over Central Florida.
“I'm very excited as a coach that when you win a game 51-14, you still have things to go in and coach and you feel like you can improve your play on,” Harbaugh said at a press conference. “There's probably no better feeling as a coach than to start the week that way.
“It makes me very optimistic that there are ways we can improve. There's things we can fix. I'm very confident with the coaches and players we have that we'll do that. It makes you feel like you can get better. I'm always happy about that, to be in that position.”
The contest marks only the fifth time the two schools have met. Michigan holds a 3-1 series edge but Colorado's victory came in one of the most famous endings in college football history.
The 1994 meeting culminated with Kordell Stewart throwing a 64-yard “Hail Mary” touchdown pass to Michael Westbrook with no time remaining for a stunning 27-26 victory.
The current Buffaloes know the history but are more concerned about leaving their own mark.
“It's just another team and we're going to go play our game, but I'm definitely excited to play Michigan,” junior receiver Devin Ross said. “I can't lie about that.
“We never expect the game to always go our way — they're going to have their ups and downs so we're ready for that. They're going to go in there hungry because they're one of the top teams in the nation, so we're going to go in there and stick with our game plan and keep executing.”
Colorado leads the nation in total defense (160.5 yards per game) and also possesses a hot quarterback in senior Sefo Liufau, who is completely healed from a foot injury suffered last November. Liufau has completed 74.5 percent of his passes for 522 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight has been even better and his seven passing touchdowns tie John Navarre (2000) for most by a Michigan quarterback in the first two games of the season. Speight has completed 70 percent of his passes to help the Wolverines top 50 points in consecutive games for the first time since 1992.
“He takes control of the huddle and also does a good job of reading the defenses,” senior receiver Amara Darboh said. “He knows where to go and doesn't hesitate.”
Darboh had five catches for 111 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Central Florida. Darboh and senior tight end Jake Butt share the team lead with three scoring receptions.
The Wolverines' defense played without senior All-American cornerback Jourdan Lewis in each of the first two games due to two different mysterious injuries.
The current one is reportedly related to his back and Harbaugh said he prefers taking the cautious approach.
“Something different came up, a muscle strain in a different location,” Harbaugh said. “We'll see (if he plays), but I'm not going to take any chances with it.”
Michigan senior defensive end Taco Charlton (ankle) could return after a one-game absence. Sophomore defensive tackle Brian Mone (knee) will sit out his second consecutive game.
Colorado hopes to have junior running back Michael Adkins II available for the first time this season. He suffered a season-ending hamstring injury early last season and his recovery has contained some setbacks.
“Michael was a little bit better at the beginning of (last week), and hopefully he'll be ready to go,” Buffaloes coach Mike MacIntyre said.