ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Michigan plans to make the most out of its close call against Massachusetts.
College football's winningest program barely beat a team from the second tier of the sport, holding on for a 42-37 win that put a scare into the Wolverines.
"Last game was a reality check," safety Cameron Gordon said Monday.
Michigan improved to 3-0 with the victory, but slipped a spot to No. 21 in The Associated Press poll because struggles on defense and in the kicking game.
"We'll use this as lessons to be learned," coach Rich Rodriguez said. "We've told the guys, they've got players who are the same age. Bowling Green is the same way, and they're scoring a lot of points. We cannot mess around and expect to win games. We're not at that stage."
Rodriguez might be at the stage that he's desperate enough to find kickers off the street. He said a student approached him in the parking lot before his weekly news conference, asking for a tryout.
"I directed him right to our guys," Rodriguez said.
Seth Broekhuizen, who beat out Brendan Gibbons last week during a wide-open competition to kick field goals, missed his only attempt from 38 yards and Gibbons is 1 for 4 on field goals.
"Both Brendan and Seth have been a lot better in practice, but they've got to do it in games," Rodriguez said.
The Wolverines said last week's practices seemed to be going well — coming off emotional wins at Notre Dame and against Connecticut — but they're planning to push themselves even harder as they prepare for Bowling Green (1-2), which is coming off a 44-28 win over Marshall.
"We're going to be very focused, very determined," Gordon said.
Rodriguez was planning to give quarterback Denard Robinson a break when Michigan led UMass by 18 points, but its defense couldn't keep the big cushion and that left Devin Gardner and Tate Forcier on the bench.
Gardner has played sparingly and Forcier hasn't at all this season after starting all 12 games last year. Rodriguez insisted getting them into more game experience before the Big Ten season starts Oct. 2 at Indiana is not a concern.
"I'm not worried about getting them reps to get ready for the conference season," he said.