Wilton Speight throws 3 TD passes; Michigan routs Hawaii

Posted at 3:19 PM, Sep 03, 2016
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- Wilton Speight rolled right and threw an interception on his first snap as a starter. When he got his next chance to take the field, Michigan was backed up to its 2.
No problem.
Speight led the seventh-ranked Wolverines down the field on a 98-yard touchdown drive, capping it with his first of three straight touchdown passes in a 63-3 win over Hawaii on Saturday, their most lopsided victory since 1975.
"It speaks volumes and bodes really well for our team and for his career as a quarterback," coach Jim Harbaugh said.
The Wolverines (1-0) did not reveal who would start at quarterback until the game began.
It looked as if the right decision was made.
Michigan, which didn't need to punt once, had its most decisive win since beating Northwestern by 69 points four decades ago and its highest-scoring opener since routing Ohio Wesleyan 65-0 in 1905.
"There was never a time, heading into the game, or after the first interception, that I was looking over my shoulder," Speight said.
He bounced back from his poorly thrown ball that was picked off with TD passes to Grant Perry, Jake Butt and Amara Darboh to put Michigan up 21-0 early in the second quarter.
Speight, who beat out Houston transfer John O'Korn for the job, finished 10 of 13 for 145 yards.
"He responded in tremendous fashion," Harbaugh said.
Freshman Chris Evans ran for 112 yards and two touchdowns, including one in which he burst through a hole on a 43-yard run, taking advantage of a chance to play a lot because De'Veon Smith injured his ribs.
"I knew Chris Evans was special," Harbaugh said. "What you saw is what we've seen in practice the last month."
The Rainbows (0-2) avoided a shutout with Rigoberto Sanchez's 55-yard field goal early in the fourth.
By the time they get home, their players and coaches will have spent about 40 hours in airplanes to travel nearly 20,000 miles for the first two games in Australia and Michigan.
"The travel didn't beat us today," Hawaii coach Nick Rolovich said. "That Michigan team beat us today."
HAWAII: Rolovich has a lot of work to do to make the Rainbows relevant again. June Jones and Greg McMackin helped Hawaii earn relatively regular trips to bowl games from 1999-2011. Norm Chow, however, was fired last year after winning four or fewer games in three-plus seasons.
MICHIGAN: Michigan was dominant on defense as expected, led by Jabrill Peppers. He lined up essentially as a linebacker after playing defensive back last season. On the first snap, Peppers filled a gap to make a stop for no gain. The Wolverines had had 10 tackles for losses, including four sacks, and scored TDs off interceptions by Delano Hill and Channing Stribling.
"If I was a Michigan fan, I'd be excited," Rolovich said.
HAWAII: The Rainbows, mercifully, will get to stay home to host Tennessee Martin.
MICHIGAN: The Wolverines host Central Florida, who may not be as good as Hawaii, and they may have a chance to score 60-plus points in consecutive games for the first time since 1971.
MICHIGAN: Harbaugh said he expects Smith to be OK for next week's game. Harbaugh chose to keep cornerback Jourdan Lewis out of the game because he's "working through something." The coach said he also decided to let offensive lineman Ben Braden and defensive tackle Maurice Hurst rest instead of play. Defensive tackle Taco Charlton injured his ankle during the game and defensive tackle Bryan Mone had an undisclosed injury, which will require an MRI.
The Wolverines will likely stay among the top ranked teams for a while with the impressive win and an upcoming schedule that appears to be favorable. They'll host Central Florida, Colorado, Penn State and Wisconsin before going on the road for the first time to face Rutgers before and coming back to play Illinois at the Big House. Michigan's first test may not be until Oct. 29 against rival Michigan State on the road.
Michael Jordan was Michigan's honorary captain because the school is the first college or pro football team to wear Brand Jordan. The former NBA great and owner of the Charlotte Bobcats spoke to the team Friday night, allowing players to ask him questions in a casual setting.