ANN ARBOR, MICH. -- The Commodores lost their season opener today to the 15th-ranked Michigan Wolverines 27-7.
The 'Dores kept the game close at halftime by capitalizing upon a blocked field goal and a bit of offensive trickery to halt what looked like might be a runaway win after the Wolverines opened the game with a convincing touchdown drive. With the score 10-0, redshirt junior linebacker Jonathan Goff blocked a Wolverine 43-yard field-goal attempt. After quarterback Chris Nickson completed three passes for 29 yards, the redshirt sophomore threw a lateral to sophomore wide receiver Earl Bennett, who in turn threw to senior wide receiver Marlon White, who stood alone near the Michigan end zone. The 30-yard pass, which resulted in the Commodores' only points of the game, was Bennett's career first throw. A 47-yard punt by true freshman Brett Upson on Vanderbilt's last possession of the second quarter helped keep the score 13-7 at the half.
Offensively, the 'Dores recorded 45 yards rushing and 129 yards passing. For Commodore fans looking for a silver lining in the season-opening loss, Nickson showed good mobility, that he can run for yardage, scramble from the blitz, and throw effectively while on the run. Nickson operated from the shotgun for most of the game.
Although Goff led the Commodore defense with 14 tackles (12 unassisted), redshirt freshman defensive end Broderick Stewart will share the highlight reel by leveling Michigan quarterback Chad Henne from his blind side to record a 9-yard sack midway through the second quarter.
And the Band Played On The Michigan faithful were relatively quiet on the kickoff following Bennett's touchdown pass to Marlon White in the second quarter. So much so, the Spirit of Gold Marching Band's kickoff anthem dominated the Big House.
Big Crowd at the Big House The announced attendance was 109,668. The largest crowd ever to see the Commodores play in person.
Back in Action The Commodores return to action in Tuscaloosa, Ala., next Saturday when they face the Alabama Crimson Tide.