Quarterback Devin Gardner
and Michigan escaped with a 28-24 win over Akron. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
No. 11 Michigan was a 37-point favorite entering this game. Akron hasn’t won back-to-back contests since the 2008 season. Still, when Akron quarterback Kyle Pohl's fourth-down pass sailed over the outstretched arms of wide receiver Zach D'Orazio in the final seconds, Wolverines fans breathed a tremendous sigh of relief. Michigan held on to beat Akron 28-24.
It was almost a disastrous finish for Michigan, which was outscored 14-7 in the fourth. The Wolverines caught a break when safety Jarrod Wilson intercepted Pohl in the end zone with just over 11 minutes remaining, but the scare wasn't over. After the Zips took a late 24-21 lead on a touchdown from wideout Tyrell Goodman, Michigan needed a Fitzgerald Toussaint rushing score and a last-gasp defensive stop to snatch victory from the jaws of “OH MY GOSH WE MIGHT LOSE TO AKRON.”
The Big Blue faithful didn't show up in record numbers like they did against Notre Dame in Week 2, and the lack of energy could have factored into the lethargic nature of the Wolverines. But give the Zips, who are now 4-35 since 2010, credit. Coach Terry Bowden’s team didn't quit and came just one play from completing a stunning upset.
A week after starring against the Irish, Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner was human in this one, throwing three interceptions, losing a fumble and generally looking less dynamic than he did last Saturday. But he did what he needed to do at the end of the game; he finished with 248 passing yards, 103 rushing yards and three touchdowns and orchestrated a go-ahead drive with a couple of timely throws. A late pass-interference call put Michigan in the red zone, and Toussaint punched it in from two yards out to give the Wolverines a four-point lead with less than three minutes to play.
Pohl marched down the field and got the Zips to the one-yard line, but he came just short of finishing the job. Akron narrowly lost its 28th consecutive road game. Wolverines coach Brady Hoke improved to 17-0 at Michigan Stadium.
These types of games happen with young teams, and Michigan should feel lucky to enter next week’s matchup with UConn at 3-0. The Wolverines were one pass away from reliving the horror of the Appalachian State game all over again. [RECAP l BOX]