No. 7 Michigan Avoids Upset, Beats Army 24-21 in 2OT at the Big House

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistSeptember 7, 2019

ANN ARBOR, MI - SEPTEMBER 7:  Josh Metellus #14 of the Michigan Wolverines carries the ball against the Army Black Knights during the first half at Michigan Stadium on September 7, 2019 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
Duane Burleson/Getty Images

If Michigan wants to be considered a contender for the College Football Playoff, it will have to fix a lot of issues after surviving Army's upset scare with a 24-21 double-overtime victory. 

Jake Moody put Michigan on top with a 43-yard field goal to start double overtime. The defense held up on Army's ensuing drive, forcing a turnover when Josh Uche recovered Kelvin Hopkins Jr.'s fumble caused by a strip-sack from Kwity Paye.  

The Wolverines looked sluggish in their opener last week against Middle Tennessee State with two turnovers and eight penalties but were able to ride their significant edge in talent to a 40-21 win. They didn't fare any better against Army with three lost fumbles, three turnovers on downs and nine penalties. 

Coming into the season, a lot of the talk around Michigan was the addition of Josh Gattis as offensive coordinator. The 35-year-old has a strong resume, including spending 2018 as co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at Alabama. 

During Big Ten media days in July, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh told reporters Shea Patterson and Dylan McCaffrey were adjusting well to Gattis' run-pass option scheme:

“It’s helped our football team. Really felt watching Shea Patterson especially and Dylan McCaffrey also, their play-making ability, their ability to operate as a passer and as a runner, how explosive they both are, Shea with his ability to make quick decisions, really fits the shotgun, really fits the RPO world, really fits the up-tempo.”

Patterson has yet to take a step forward in games. The senior went 19-of-29 for 207 yards and was sacked four times against Army. 

ESPN's David Pollack went so far as to say McCaffrey should take over as Michigan's starter.

Both defenses did show up to play, allowing a combined 583 yards. Army's potent triple-option offense was held to 3.3 yards per carry on 61 rushing attempts. 

Zach Charbonnet did the heavy lifting for Michigan with the passing game struggling. The freshman running back had 100 yards and scored all three Wolverines touchdowns on 33 carries. 

Looking ahead, Harbaugh and Gattis have to figure out what kind of offense they want to run and the best way to take advantage of it. The seventh-ranked team in the nation is going to have high expectations and a lot of pressure to at least challenge for a Big Ten title. 

Through two games, Michigan hasn't lived up to its preseason hype. The good news is it's found ways to win both times. 

Things will get considerably more difficult when the Wolverines return from their bye on Sept. 21 against No. 17 Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium. 

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