Eric Rutter: Entering the Week 1 contest, Joe Milton had a lot of pressure on his shoulders as the recipient of an offseason loaded with hype and adulation. But when the bright lights shined against Minnesota in prime time, Milton showed that he is a bone fide Big Ten starting quarterback and passed his first test with flying colors.
Though Milton did toss seven incompletions as he went 15-for-22, three of those can be chalked up to drops, so he was a bit more accurate than the stats would show. When called upon, Milton was able to supplement U-M's passing offense with the threat of rushing the football and showed that he is a true dual-threat quarterback in Jim Harbaugh's spread offense.
For Milton, his Week 1 effort is about as flawless as one could hope for. He did not commit a turnover, which is huge, and U-M capped off most of their drives with a touchdown, so he made the most of the opportunities he was given. Two total touchdowns and zero turnovers is exactly what the Wolverines needed out of the quarterback position. It is difficult to find any true hole in his game at this point, and Milton is deserving of a B+ / A- grade after one start.
Steve Deace: I learned that Joe Milton is far more polished and poised than we could've anticipated. In fact, he rarely even had to flash the eye-popping arm strength and athleticism that had Michigan coaches making "number one pick in the draft potential" mentions to beat-writers when he committed. He was in complete command out there. At no point did it look like his first start. After the first series or so, I was never really nervous as a fan when he dropped back to throw.
Credit to the talent around him, the protection of the offensive line, and the game plan by Josh Gattis for that as well. Not since Denard Robinson has Michigan had a quarterback who made the players around him better, and not since Chad Henne has Michigan had a quarterback who could make the players around him better with just his arm. That's the next stage in Milton's development. But given the oodles of talent around him right now, we've got time to need him there. For now, the poise and polish will do.
Michael Spath: He earned a solid 'B+' from me. I was impressed with his demeanor in the huddle and in the pocket, the smooth delivery whether he's throwing an out pattern, a slant across the middle or a touch pass to the flat. He was superb as a runner, especially on designed QB runs, showing off both patience and acceleration, and his arm strength was as powerful as advertised.
I noted this Saturday night, but I thought Milton added a level of swagger to the Michigan offense that we rarely saw on display in 2019.
Milton wasn't asked to do a lot Saturday, thanks to an explosive ground game that took over, but did everything asked of him with efficiency. The best news yet: he has so much more potential than what we witnessed. In fact, with some big plays down the field this weekend, his grade should even improve.
Jake Sage: Joe Milton was sensational in his first start as a Wolverine. Other than leaving the pocket too early on the first drive of the game, which led to a sack and forced the Wolverines to punt, Milton was flawless. In fact, Milton was the first Wolverine quarterback to throw for over 220 yards in a win against a ranked opponent since January 1, 2016, when Jake Rudock passed for 278 yards in the Citrus Bowl against Florida.
Milton was also the first Michigan quarterback to throw for over 220 yards in a road victory against a ranked opponent since October 1, 2005 when Chad Henne threw for 256 yards against the Spartans. Milton even became the first Wolverine quarterback to throw for over 200 yards without an interception in their Michigan debut since John Navarre did so on September 2, 2000 against Bowling Green.
In addition, Milton became the first Michigan quarterback to have over 50 rushing yards with a rushing touchdown in a Big Ten road victory since Denard Robinson ran for 117 yards with two touchdowns against Northwestern in 2011. Therefore, Milton’s debut as the Wolverines quarterback could not have gone much better both rushing and passing.