(Saturday, September 19th)
Final Score: (25) Michigan 45, Eastern Michigan 17
Ann Arbor, MI (Sports Network) - Carlos Brown ran for a career-high 187 yards and two touchdowns, including a 90-yard score, as 25th-ranked Michigan pulled away in the second half for a 45-17 victory over Eastern Michigan.
Denard Robinson took over at quarterback for Michigan after fellow freshman Tate Forcier had the wind knocked out of him in the third quarter and ran for a pair of scores in the victory. Michael Shaw also had a touchdown run for the Wolverines (3-0), who racked up 380 yards on the ground.
"We had the intention of throwing a little bit more, but why would you when you don't have to?" noted Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez. "Obviously for us, if we can run the football, it gives our defense a little bit of a break. I thought our backs ran extremely hard, we blocked well up front, and I thought our blocking on the perimeter was very good as well."
Forcier, who appeared to be fine on the sideline, completed 7-of-13 passes for 68 yards. Michigan will continue its season-opening four-game homestand with the Big Ten opener next week against Indiana.
Eastern Michigan quarterback Andy Schmitt threw for 97 yards with an interception and also ran for a score before leaving the contest with what appeared to be a knee injury. Dwayne Priest ran for 91 yards and a touchdown for the Eagles (0-3), who also lost to Army and Northwestern to start their season.
The game was tied at 10-10 early in the second quarter, but Michigan scored a pair of touchdowns just over two minutes apart for some breathing room.
Shaw capped a six-play, 69-yard drive with a five-yard touchdown run to give the Wolverines a 17-10 lead with 9:20 to play before the break. Shaw added carries of seven and 22 yards before the score. He finished the game with 53 yards on nine attempts.
Eastern Michigan then went three-and-out and pinned Michigan back at its own 10 with a punt, but Brown broke free through the middle, brushed aside one attempted arm tackle and sprinted for a 90-yard touchdown to make it 24-10 at the 7:15 mark.
The Wolverines got the ball back after another unproductive Eastern Michigan series, but a Chris May interception gave the Eagles a first down at the Michigan 36. Priest was able to covert the turnover into a touchdown, carrying the ball six straight times and finishing the quick series with a five-yard touchdown run to pull EMU within seven just over two minutes before the break.
A series of punts to start the third quarter favored Michigan for field position and the Wolverines took their third offensive series of the half 60 yards on seven plays for another score. A 21-yard run by Forcier keyed the march and Shaw ran for 18 more before receiver Martavious Owens ran a reverse 13 yards for a touchdown and a 31-17 edge.
Schmitt was intercepted by Craig Roh moments later and Michigan converted the short field into another touchdown. Forcier had to leave the field after taking a hard hit on the first play and Robinson finished a 21-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown run on a quarterback draw to extend the margin to 21 points with 3:06 to play in the third.
Eastern Michigan was stopped at the Michigan two-yard line early in the fourth quarter and Schmitt was hurt on the next Eagle possession. He was not hit on the play, but went down after taking the snap and fumbled.
Robinson quickly cashed in the turnover with a 36-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth to account for the final margin.
"I just think that we got in situation where we fell behind, and we had to throw the ball a little bit more," said Eastern Michigan head coach Ron English about the second half. "It took us out of our running game. We just felt that we needed to catch up, so we had to throw the ball a little bit more than we wanted to."
The Wolverines outgained the Eagles 448-285. Robinson did not complete any of his four passes and was picked off twice but did run for 60 yards.
"We finally got them off the field in the second half, and we got a few more possessions put together," Rodriguez added. "It was good win, but a lot of teachable moments out there that we can get better from."
Michigan took advantage of a short punt to score on its first offensive series, as a 30-yard run by Brown set up a 37-yard field goal from Jason Olesnavage for a 3-0 lead.
Eastern Michigan answered with a 43-yard field goal from Joe Carithers to tie the game, but the Wolverines followed with a 60-yard drive for a touchdown. Brown and Brandon Minor combined for seven carries on the nine-play series, with Brown finding the end zone from nine yards away to make it 10-3 with 2 1/2 minutes left in the opening period.
Undeterred, the Eagles drove 79 yards on 11 plays to tie it again. Alex Gillett's 13-yard run on 3rd-and-6 kept the march alive early and Schmitt added a 24-yard carry before finishing it with an 11-yard scramble around the right side just 3:44 into the second quarter.
"We expect to win, we really do," remarked English, a former Michigan defensive coordinator. "I know people think that's hard to believe, but we expect to win every game."
Brown notched his fourth career 100-yard game and bettered his previous career best of 132 yards set October 27, 2007 against Minnesota...Brown's 90-yard run was the third-longest rushing touchdown in school history. The record is 92 yards by Butch Woolfolk against Wisconsin in 1979...Schmitt finished with 26 yards on the ground and completed 13-of-22 passes in defeat...Michigan improved to 9-0 all-time against Eastern Michigan.
09/19 16:35:42 ET