No. 7 Michigan (2-0) saw the defense come up huge in a double overtime victory over Army (1-1). After taking a 24-21 lead to begin the second overtime, the Wolverines celebrated a gritty victory over the Black Knights when they recovered a fumble on Army’s last effort.
On 3rd and 11 form the Michigan 26-yard line, Army quarterback Kelvin Hopkins dropped back to pass and was sacked by Carlo Kemp and Aidan Hutchinson for a loss of 10 yards. To make matters worse, Hopkins had the ball knocked out of his hands, and Josh Uche came up with the loose ball for the victory.
Jake Moody gave Michigan a 24-21 lead to start the second overtime on a 43-yard field goal after the offense sputtered on three consecutive pass attempts by Shea Patterson. Patterson had a rough afternoon with a pair of lost fumbles and completing 19-of-29 passes for 207 yards. But the missed passes, at times, were infuriating for the Wolverines as he missed some wide open receivers for what could have been big plays. Michigan’s new-look offense showed it still has some work to do to become the improved unit that had been hyped going into the season.
Michigan had a chance to take a lead on Army in the first half thanks to the defense pouncing on a fumble, but a return by Josh Metellus was ruled down on the field on the recover. Video replay confirmed Metellus was not down when he recovered the football, shortly before he returned the loose ball for what should have been a touchdown. The play was not reviewable by officials, so the play stood.
Jim Harbaugh will certainly face the music for a pair of fourth-down decisions in the second half that backfired. The first was inside the red zone, with the game tied at 14-14 in the fourth quarter. the second came later around midfield with under three minutes to play. The later led to what was nearly a last-second field goal victory for Army, but the 50-yard attempt by freshman Cole Talley (his first field goal attempt of his collegiate career) didn’t quite have the leg or the angle to sail through posts.
Army came agonizingly close to scoring its first win against a top 10 opponent since 1963, when Army knocked off No. 9 Penn State. A year after losing to Kyler Murray and Oklahoma in overtime, Army knows it can give some of the best programs a good battle, but that won’t make anyone at Army feel any better after a tough loss at Michigan. Army will look to some of their own miscues that haunted them in this one. Midway through the third quarter, with a 14-7 lead in their favor, Army stalled on the door step of a possible touchdown with a false start penalty on 2nd & Goal form the one-yard line and Hopkins throwing an interception two plays later on 3rd & Goal form the five by Lavert Hill. Michigan seized the opportunity off the Army turnover by marching right down the field to tie the game at 14-14 on a Zach Charbonnet run form the Army one-yard line. Patterson did have a big third down pass for an 18-yard gain when he needed nine on third down, and a 25-yard pass to Ronnie Bell on 3rd & 7 moved Michigan to the two-yard line.
Michigan will now get a week off before taking the field again. The Wolverines hit the road in two weeks for their Big Ten opener against Wisconsin. That will give Michigan some time to refine the offense after having plenty of issues pop up against Army (and last week against Middle Tennessee). Wisconsin will also get the bye week to prepare for Michigan.
Army is back in action next week in San Antonio when they face UTSA.