Saturday, September 14, 2013
Michigan looks to stay perfect in Big House
By Chantel Jennings
Home sweet home. At least it has been for Michigan under Brady Hoke.
The 11th-ranked Wolverines are 16-0 in Michigan Stadium with Hoke as coach. It's the longest active home winning streak among BCS conference schools.
Hoke said he really didn’t have much of an explanation for that, other than the fact that “players play hard at home.”
Last weekend the Wolverines took down Notre Dame at home in front of an all-time attendance record for college football or the NFL: 115,109. Though the crowd will likely not be as large on Saturday -- nor is it likely that will Beyonce make a guest appearance on the big screens at halftime -- Michigan will look to close out its 2013-14 nonconference home schedule with a win over Akron.
The Zips are 1-1 and are currently on a 27-game road losing streak.
“It’s the will to win at home,” senior receiver Drew Dileo said on Monday. “We’re trying to defend this place, defend the Big House. That’s what we’ve been doing the last couple years and this year.”
So far this season, Michigan fans have seen two pretty impressive performances from redshirt junior quarterback Devin Gardner. On the ground, Gardner has scored three times and rushed for 134 yards on 20 carries. He has completed 31-of-48 passes for five touchdowns and nearly 500 yards in the air.
His top target this season has been senior receiver Jeremy Gallon. The 5-foot-8 senior leads the Wolverines with four touchdown catches and has 12 receptions overall.
Michigan’s defense has also looked stout in the Big House, though defensive coordinator Greg Mattison would like to see more out of the front seven as well as more consistency in the secondary.
The Wolverines will look to improve their record to 3-0 at home this season before traveling to Connecticut next weekend. During the Big Ten portion of the schedule, the Wolverines will host four teams at Michigan Stadium, including Nebraska and Ohio State.