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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Five Things To Take Away From Michigan's 52-14 Win Over Appalachian State


Here are five things to take away from Michigan’s 52-14 win over Appalachian State:
1) Devin Funchess:
In Devin Funchess’ first official game as a wide receiver and wearing the coveted No. 1 jersey, the former tight end lived up to the hype and then some with seven receptions for 95 yards and three touchdowns.
Funchess’ third touchdown reception was a thing of beauty as he used his length to pull down an amazing catch at the edge of the end zone to put Michigan ahead 21-0 halfway through the second quarter.
Michigan might have a shot to go straight up with a high-powered Notre Dame offense next Saturday if Funchess can keep these amazing stats. Funchess will also need help from other receivers such as Jehu Chesson and Keith Heitzman to alleviate potential double teams from ND defenders.
2) The two-headed U-M Running Attack:
One of the many question marks coming into the season was Michigan’s running game.
Any doubt was put to rest Saturday as the Wolverines used the one-two punch of Derrick Green and De’Veon Smith as they gained 174 and 115 yards, respectively. 73 of Smith’s 115 yards came in Michigan’s fourth scoring possession as he used a 61-yard run in the penultimate play to set up for a 12-yard TD run to go up 28-0 on Appalachian State in the second quarter.
3) Devin Gardner’s Performance:
Fifth-year senior quarterback Devin Gardner had a chip on his shoulder after finishing last season with losses in key games to Michigan State and Ohio State, ended the game completing 13-of-14 passes for 173 yards and threw for three touchdowns.
The influence of first-year offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier has had a positive effect on Gardner thus far and it showed during the press conference. “(Nussmeier) got excited when I did the run check and I was thinking was he screaming at me for doing something wrong?” Gardner said. “But, he was so hyped about the run, which was seven yards and it eventually set up a touchdown for us.”
4) Special Teams/Defense:
Appalachian State sophomore quarterback Kam Bryant could not get into a groove as the Michigan defensive line gave him problems all day as he was rushed into quick passes and did not get support from his offensive line.
Bryant completed 8-of-19 passes for 59 yards before being pulled in the third quarter for Taylor Lamb. Bryant was sacked twice and it came courtesy of Taco Charlton and Chris Wormley.
Desmond Morgan and James Ross III led the way for Michigan with six tackles each. Appalachian State’s Doug Middleton led all players with eight tackles in the loss.
5) Michigan Gets Payback Seven Years Later:
While the outcome was well in hand by halftime, most U-M fans could not help but to go back to 2007 when Appalachian State upset Michigan 34-32 at Michigan Stadium.
Yes, the players and coaches for both teams are different in 2014, but Michigan fans seem to breathe a collective sigh of relief at the end of the game as not only its team won by 38, but did so with the ease and swagger of those pesky teams from the late 90’s- early 2000’s.

Only time will tell if Michigan’s performance will carry over to the final frontier with Notre Dame next Saturday Night at Notre Dame Stadium.
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Follow Eugene Evans on Twitter @GenoSportsguy.

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