Michigan wins weather-delayed game
In the days leading up to his debut as Michigan's coach, Brady Hoke worried about getting his team ready for everything.
Dealing with weather delays wasn't a part of his checklist.
The Wolverines beat Western Michigan 34-10 Saturday in a game stopped late in the third quarter because of lightning-filled storms.
''It was kind of wild,'' Hoke said. ''Wet and wild.''
Both schools agreed to cancel the game with 1:27 left in the third during a second weather delay, which included evacuating Michigan Stadium that had 110,056 fans in it before the inclement weather moved into the area.
''We really thought about the safety of the fans and the safety of the players,'' Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said. ''If this was a close game that was into the fourth quarter, I think we would've waited it out.''
Fitzgerald Toussaint had 11 carries for 80 yards and ran for two TDs for the Wolverines, whose new offense was a mix of spread-like plays run by former coach Rich Rodriguez and old-school runs up the middle.
Michigan linebacker Brandon Herron returned an interception 94 yards for a touchdown, the longest such return in school history, and scoring again on a fumble return, becoming the first player on defense to score twice in a game in school history.
''It's always fun to score on defense,'' Hoke said. ''But there are 100 different things in that tape that we'll address.''
As lopsided as the score was, the game started off shaky for the traditional Big Ten powerhouse against the solid Mid-American Conference team.
''In the first half, we gave them a seven and threw away 10 points for our side,'' Broncos coach Bill Cubit said.
Alex Carder was 22 of 31 for 183 yards for the Broncos with one interception and two fumbles, both of which came in the third quarter. Jordan White had 12 receptions for 119 yards for Broncos.
Carder got off to a strong start, leading a 15-play, 74-yard possession capped by Antoin Scriven's 1-yard run on fourth down to cap the first drive in the opener for both teams.
Michigan answered with Toussaint scoring on a 1-yard run on the ensuing drive.
Western Michigan had chances to score on each of its next two possessions, but missed a field goal and had a pass tipped by linebacker Jake Ryan that Herron returned for 94 yards in the longest interception return for a go-ahead score.
''That was a 14-point swing,'' Cubit said.
Denard Robinson was 9 of 13 for 98 yards and ran eight times for 46 yards. He was the team's third-leading rusher in the game, a year after he did it all and became the NCAA's first player to run and throw for 1,500 yards in a season.
Toussaint's second TD was followed by Brendan Gibbons' extra point that was blocked, putting the Wolverines ahead 20-10 late in the first half.
The game was delayed for the first of two times early in the third quarter.
Following a 30-plus minute delay, Michigan safety Jordan Kovacs blitzed to force Carder to fumble and Herron scooped it up for a 29-yard return to make it 27-10.
Michael Shaw's 44-yard TD that was set up by Toussaint's 43-yard run proved to be the final score.
The Wolverines were driving for another score when the game was suspended because of lightning. Nearly an hour later, the game was called with the result and statistics standing in what school officials say is the first weather-shortened game in the 132-year history of college football's winningest team.
''When coach Hoke told us we won the game, everybody got quiet and was like, `Seriously?''' Robinson recalled.
Michigan's next game is a prime-time matchup at home against Notre Dame.