Utah waits out delay, beats Michigan 26-10
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) For the red-clad Utah fans who showed up at Michigan Stadium, this was a unique opportunity.
Their team was in total control with only a few minutes remaining, and because of a lengthy lightning delay in the fourth quarter, hardly anyone was left from the crowd of nearly 104,000. So instead of sitting in their assigned seats, the delighted Utah supporters set up much closer, right behind the Utes' sideline.
''I felt like it was the Ute House,'' Utah receiver Dres Anderson said. ''We heard so much about the Big House. It was the Ute House at the end.''
Travis Wilson returned after a frightening fall in the first half to throw a third-quarter touchdown pass to Anderson, and Utah finally finished off a 26-10 win over Michigan on Saturday night after a lightning delay of 2 hours, 24 minutes. The game was halted with 7:51 remaining, and nobody scored after it resumed.
Wilson left the game in the second quarter after he tried to leap over a Michigan defender and landed on his head. The Utes (3-0) led 13-10 at halftime anyway, and Wilson found Anderson for a 28-yard touchdown early in the third.
After the delay, the teams came out to the wet field and finished in front of about 105,000 empty seats.
''They responded very well and came out and finished the game the way it's supposed to be finished,'' Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. ''We've worked too hard and come too far not to close out that last 7 minutes and 51 seconds.''
Michigan's running game looked improved against the likes of Appalachian State and Miami (Ohio), but in two games against tougher competition, the Wolverines (2-2) haven't been much of a threat offensively. They lost 31-0 to Notre Dame and went without an offensive touchdown against Utah.
There were a handful of boos Saturday as the offense sputtered.
''I don't like that with 18-22-year-old kids. I know the fans pay their money and they have the right to do that, but I don't like it,'' Michigan coach Brady Hoke said. ''If the boos are for me, that's fine.''
Michigan turned the ball over four times, bringing its total to 11 over the last three games. Devin Gardner went 14 of 26 for 148 yards with two interceptions, and the Wolverines struggled to protect him from Utah's pass rush.
Wilson went 14 of 20 for 172 yards, although he was shaken up after a scary play in the second quarter. Trying to gain a few extra yards, the Utah quarterback attempted to jump over linebacker Jake Ryan and ended up being hit by linebacker Joe Bolden. Wilson was flipped over to the point where his head hit the ground and his helmet came off.
Wilson missed the end of last season after the team discovered a preexisting medical condition during a concussion diagnosis. Doctors found damage to an artery in his brain, but in February, Wilson found out the artery was stable, and in June, he was cleared for this season.
After the win over Michigan, he had what looked like bruises on his face.
''I cut myself underneath my nose, and they had to stitch me up,'' Wilson said. ''It was definitely scary. I definitely need to be smarter about that situation.''
Kendal Thompson came in to play quarterback, and later in the second, Michigan defensive tackle Willie Henry intercepted one of his passes and returned it 7 yards for a touchdown and a 10-all tie.
Andy Phillips kicked a 38-yard field goal for Utah on the final play of the half. Prior to that, Michigan was called for a sideline violation, and Hoke appeared to have a couple heated words for defensive coordinator Greg Mattison.
But it wasn't Mattison's defense that was the problem. Michigan never made it to the red zone on offense.
Michigan led 3-0 in the first quarter and had Utah backed up when Bubba Poole took Wilson's swing pass and went 67 yards. Poole might have scored on the play if he hadn't outrun some of his own blockers toward the end. The Utes had to settle for a field goal.
Kaelin Clay scored on a 66-yard punt return in the second quarter to put Utah up 10-3.
Shane Morris replaced Gardner in the fourth quarter with the Wolverines down 16, but he also threw an interception. The weather delay began immediately after that, and the game concluded with the stadium mostly empty.
''That was the weirdest thing I've ever seen - playing at home with no one in the stadium,'' Ryan said. ''The whole thing was just weird.''