After jumping out to a 21-3 first-half lead, Nebraska watched as UCLA scored 35 unanswered points en route to a 38-21 win.
In Ann Arbor, meanwhile, Michigan narrowly averted an even bigger embarrassment for the Big Ten in general and the Wolverines specifically — one that would’ve been even more embarrassing than the loss to Appalachian State a few years ago.
Trailing 21-10 heading into the fourth quarter, Akron stunned the Big House crowd with a pair of touchdowns, including one with just over four minutes left that gave the Zips a 24-21 lead. Michigan roared right back, however, with Fitz Toussaint‘s two-yard TD run handing the lead back to the Wolverines with 2:49 left.
The biggest question, though, was whether UM had left too much time on the clock. The answer was a resounding “HELL YES THEY DID!”
On the ensuing drive, Akron, which had lost its last 27 road games and hadn’t beat an FBS opponent since 2010, drove down to Michigan’s two-yard line with :15 left and two opportunities to push across the game-winning score. A poor play call on third down lost two yards and, after Akron had taken its final timeout with :05 left, a fourth-down pass fell incomplete in the end zone as time expired.
Yes, Michigan was able to escape, but there are now more questions about the 2013 Wolverines than there are answers heading out of Week 3. Yes, Michigan was coming off an emotional win over rival Notre Dame last weekend, so a letdown might be expected — for a quarter or a half, not an entire 60 minutes.
How bad was the close win? All-American offensive tackle Taylor Lewan (no relation) called it “embarrassing” in the postgame locker room.
The good news for Brady Hoke and his coaching staff is that the scare, with so much on the line nationally, will make it very easy to get his player’s attention in the coming weeks when they see an “inferior” opponent on the schedule.