Michigan receivers make the most of limited opportunities in win over Notre Dame
As a unit, the Michigan football team's wide receivers didn't have many opportunities to make an impact Saturday.
In fact, Notre Dame senior receiver Michael Floyd made six more receptions (13) than the Wolverine wideouts did in total.
But when you average 40.8 yards per catch as a position group, it really doesn't matter how many you grab -- good things are likely to happen.
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
Talk about making every moment count.
"(Michigan wide receivers coach Jeff Hecklinski) always say that big players make big-time plays," said junior receiver Roy Roundtree, whose 16-yard grab with two seconds to go sealed a Wolverine win. "And that's what I did today."
A cliche statement, no doubt. But definitely a telling remark considering the circumstances.
Roundtree's only catch of the football game came in the contest's biggest moment -- a jump ball in the endzone that he out-worked Notre Dame senior cornerback Gary Gray for.
"Once I saw the ball come off, it was high," Roundtree said. "(Quarterback) Denard (Robinson) put it up high so I could adjust to it. I just jumped up in the air, came down and made sure my foot was in.
"Once I came down I was like 'man, I just scored a touchdown.' "
Roundtree wasn't the only wideout to make a big impact Saturday. Far from it.
Sophomore Jeremy Gallon delivered arguably the game's most important play just moments before Roundtree's leaping catch. With less than 30 seconds to go and Michigan staring at 80 yards of artificial turf in front of it, Gallon -- who finished with two catches for 78 yards -- found himself wide open down the middle of the field.
Gallon said he had an idea that he might have the ball thrown his way, but his run-after-catch that resulted in a 64-yard completion? Not even he could have predicted that.
"I knew when the defender followed Roy (that I might get the ball)," Gallon said. "They left me open and I was just waiting for Denard to throw me the ball. And then I just did the best I could to get close to the endzone.
"I just tried to focus on the ball and get close."
Gallon's other catch Saturday? A 14-yard touchdown -- of course -- with 2:35 to play in the game.
Michigan's leading receiver Saturday, senior Junior Hemingway, also made every catch count.
He hauled in a 77-yard catch and run from Robinson midway through the third quarter that seemed to infuse life into an otherwise flat Wolverine club. Three plays after Hemingway's career-long reception, Robinson scored on a 3-yard touchdown run that officially started Michigan's 17-point comeback.
Hemingway, who now has four catches for 202 yards and a score on the young season, also caught a 43-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter, as well as a 45-yard jump ball down the middle of the field late in the fourth.
Michigan's only other catch from a wide receiver Saturday came from senior Kelvin Grady, whose 27-yard snag late in the fourth set up running back Vincent Smith's 21-yard screen pass touchdown with 1:04 to play.
Through two games this season, Michigan's wideouts have caught 14 passes for 368 yards and four touchdowns.
Whether or not they keep up that blazing pace remains to be seen. But Robinson says that as long as he keeps looking deep, he's confident his opportunistic wideouts will make something happen.
"(There's) one thing I know about all our receivers," said Robinson, who finished 11 of 24 for 338 yards through the air with four touchdowns and three interceptions. "They know how to go get the ball."