ANN ARBOR, Mich. — It was a slow start offensively and the run game never really quite got going, but Michigan football erupted in the pass game and on the defensive side of the ball.
And it did so without head coach Jim Harbaugh and multiple players.
The Wolverines cruised to a 30-3 victory over the Pirates with acting head coach Jesse Minter overseeing the maize and blue. The only three points the defense surrendered in the game came as time expired in the fourth quarter. The offense moved the ball down the field regularly with seeming ease. Quarterback J.J. McCarthy amassed 280 yards passing with three touchdowns and completed 87% of his throws.
While that’s the gist of the game, there are many things that happened you might not have known about. That’s where MGoBlue.com comes in clutch, sharing the factoids that aren’t as obvious when watching the game.
Notes and tidbits:
Saturday’s announced attendance of 109,480 marks the 309th consecutive game at Michigan Stadium with a crowd in excess of 100,000.
Saturday’s matchup marked the first meeting between Michigan and East Carolina.
The Wolverines added to a home winning streak that has reached 16 straight games, dating to the 2021 season. It is the longest home winning streak under head coach Jim Harbaugh and the program’s best since home win streaks of 16 games (2002-05) and 21 games (1997-2000) under former head coach Lloyd Carr.
U-M improved to 118-23-3 all time in season openers, while head coach Harbaugh is 16-4 in season openers, including 7-2 during his tenure at Michigan.
Defensive coordinator Jesse Minter was acting head coach for Saturday’s season opener and was credited with the victory. He is 1-0 as a collegiate head coach.
Today’s honorary captains were NASA astronaut Josh Cassada and award-winning sports reporter Gene Wojciechowski.
Ten Wolverines earned their first collegiate start: senior Myles Hinton (offensive line), graduate student Drake Nugent (offensive line), sophomore Keon Sabb (safety), graduate student Josh Wallace (cornerback), graduate student Keshaun Harris (cornerback), sophomore Ernest Hausmann (linebacker), junior Josaiah Stewart (linebacker), senior AJ Barner (tight end), graduate student James Turner (kicker) and graduate student LaDarius Henderson (offensive line).
Thirteen players made their U-M debuts in today’s game: Fredrick Moore, Karmello English, Semaj Morgan, Hausmann, Stewart, Barner, Hinton, Wallace, Turner, Nugent, LaDarius, Jyaire Hill and DJ Waller Jr.
Moore (2 receptions, 18 yards) and Hall (2 carries, 2 yards) recorded their first collegiate statistics.
After punting on its first drive, the Wolverine offense scored on five consecutive drives, recording four touchdowns and a field goal.
Senior running back Blake Corum posted 10 carries and 73 yards and added a 2-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter. He had 18 rushing touchdowns last year, ranking third nationally.
Junior quarterback J.J. McCarthy registered his best career passing game at home (280 yards, three touchdowns). McCarthy’s 86.7% completion percentage (26-for-30) ranks the second highest in Michigan history, behind Elvis Grbac’s 90.9% (20-for-22) against Notre Dame (Sept. 14, 1991).
In McCarthy’s 14 starts, U-M has scored in 61 of 68 red-zone trips with 51 touchdowns. When McCarthy starts and finishes a drive, U-M has produced 59 touchdowns and 26 field goals on 145 drives. Today, U-M was 3-for-3 from the red zone in the first half and 1-for-2 in the second.
The Wolverines earned a 23-point lead in the first half with three touchdowns and a 50-yard field goal from graduate kicker James Turner while shutting out the Pirates. It was Turner’s first field goal in maize and blue.
U-M capitalized on graduate student defensive back Mike Sainristil’s first-quarter interception with a 14-yard touchdown to senior wide receiver Roman Wilson for the Wolverines’ first score of the season.
Sainristil recorded U-M’s first interception of the season. It was also Sainristil’s second career interception; he previously returned an 8-yard interception against TCU in the College Football Playoff on Dec. 31, 2022.
It was Wilson’s second multi-touchdown game; his last was two against Penn State on Nov. 13, 2021. The last time a Wolverine had three receiving touchdowns in one game was Nico Collins at Indiana (Nov. 23, 2019). Wilson upped his total to 11 receiving touchdowns.
Sophomore tight end Colston Loveland posted four receptions, tying his career best, for a career-high 57 yards.
Defensively, U-M held the Pirates without a point for 59:55 until ECU kicked a 33-yard field goal as time expired. The most recent Michigan shutout was last season against UConn on Sept. 17, 2021.
Junior linebacker Junior Colson led the Wolverine defense with 101 total tackles in 2022; he was credited with five tackles and two TFL in today’s game.