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Posted on Sat, Sep 3, 2011 : 8:26 p.m.

Game called in 3rd quarter: Michigan football team wins, 34-10

By Jim Knight


A Michigan fan finds some cover from the rain at Michigan Stadium on Saturday. Nearby lightning caused two delays of the game.

Angela J. Cesere |

Brady Hoke didn't need four quarters to finish his first game as the Michigan football coach as a winner.

The Western Michigan at Michigan football game was called Saturday after both teams agreed to end the game late in the third quarter because of an ongoing lightning delay.

The result: Hoke opens his Michigan head coaching career with a 34-10 victory that included big plays on defense, long runs by people other than quarterback Denard Robinson and a lot of second-half rain.

The result is official and all of the statistics stand, Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said after the game. He said officials from both teams considered waiting out the storms, but radar showed it might have been a nearly two-hour delay.

It's the first time Michigan has a football game called because of lightning. The stadium was evacuated at 6:38 p.m., and the game was called shortly after 7 p.m.

The last - and only other - time Michigan had a home lightning delay was in 2006 during a home game against Central Michigan. That game was delayed for an hour late in the first quarter. Michigan went on to win, 41-17.

Moments from the game:

Third quarter
Lightning delay, Part II: At 6:19 p.m., officials halted the game and cleared the field for the second time Saturday because of nearby lightning. At 6:38, workers began evacuating fans from the stadium and the new scoreboards showed "PLEASE EXIT THE STANDS" and a large display of a weather radar.

Michigan 34, Western Michigan 10: Senior running back Michael Shaw ran 44 yards for a touchdown as Michigan scored on a three-play, 87-yard drive. The three plays: Fitzgerald Toussaint opened the drive with a 43-yard run, an incomplete pass and Shaw's run.

Michigan 27, Western Michigan 10: Jordan Kovacs' hard hit on Western quarterback Alex Carder caused a fumble that senior Brandon Herron picked up and returned 28 yards for his second touchdown of the day.

The game resumes: The first delay lasted 26 minutes.

Players return to field: Western Michigan and Michigan players returned to the field at 5:45 p.m., about 30 minutes after they left because of nearby lightning.

Lightning delay: The game was delayed with 13:59 to play in the third quarter because of lightning. NCAA rules dictate that if there is lightning within six miles of a game, the game must be delayed. Fans cheered during an extended cloud burst as the third quarter started. The teams left the field at 5:23 p.m. and are expected back on the field by 5:45 p.m. It's the first time a game has been delayed by weather at Michigan Stadium since the Central Michigan at Michigan game in 2006.

Halftime: A few stats of note midway through the game. It's a fairly even game, statistically, with Western ahead of Michigan in net yards, 233 to 183. Both teams have six first downs. Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson is 8-of-9 passing for 61 yards and has rushed six times for 40 yards. The rest of Michigan's backfield, led by Fitzgerald Toussaint, has accounted for 46 yards on 13 carries. Western quarterback Alex Carder is 17-of-24 passing for 135 yards and one interception.

Michigan 20, Western Michigan 10: John Potter kicked a 36-yard field goal with 43 seconds left in the first half.

Michigan 20, Western Michigan 7: Fitzgerald Toussaint scored his second touchdown of the day on a 2-yard run. Michigan went 74 yards in nine plays. Johnnie Simon blocked Brendan Gibbons' extra point attempt.


Michigan senior linebacker Brandon Herron runs an interception back for a touchdown in the first half. He scored again in the third quarter on a fumble recovery.

Melanie Maxwell |

Michigan 14, Western Michigan 7: Brandon Herron returned an interception 94 yards after Jake Ryan tipped an Alex Carter pass. It's the longest interception return for a touchdown in modern Michigan history (since 1948).

Michigan 7, Western Michigan 7: Fitzgerald Toussant scored on a 1-yard run at the 14:16 mark of the second quarter. Michigan went 76 yards in 16 plays. Eight players ran or caught passes on the drive. Denard Robinson ran four times for 26 yards and was 5-of-5 passing for 33 yards. Toussaint had six carries for 13 yards.

First quarter

Western 7, Michigan 0: Antoin Scriven scored on a 1-yard dive as the Broncos took scored easily on their opening drive, which lasted more than 7 minutes. Western covered 74 yards in 15 plays. Western quarterback Alex Carder was 8-of-8 passing for 56 yards.

The season starts: The Michigan football season is under way, and the Michigan defense earned the first cheers of the year when Troy Woolfolk made the first tackle of the game.

Pregame: Not much went right for the Michigan football team on Aug. 30, 2008, when Rich Rodriguez stood on the sidelines for his first game as the Wolverines' coach.


Fans line up to enter Michigan Stadium.

Angela J. Cesere |

Utah scored 16 second-quarter points and held on for a 25-23 victory on a sunny, hot day. Michigan went on to a 3-9 season and Rodriguez was fired after three seasons.

Your turn, Brady Hoke.

Hoke and Michigan take on Western Michigan at 3:30 p.m. (ABC), and we'll provide updates on game action here.

Live chat: Join Rich Rezler and Nick Baumgardner on our live chat. The conversation starts at 3 p.m.

No problem: Gates at Michigan Stadium opened at 1:30 p.m., two hours before the start of the game, to modest lines of fans. Michigan officials warned fans earlier in the week that new security measures could cause delays entering the stadium.

Hot enough for you? It was 92 degrees with a heat index of 97 degrees at 2 p.m. as Western Michigan players warmed up on the field.

Not in uniform: Sophomore running back Stephen Hopkins, junior offensive lineman Ricky Barnum, sophomore linebacker Cam Gordon and senior linebacker Marell Evans are not on the Michigan dress list today. Gordon has a bad back and it's not a surprise that he's not playing. Hoke will address the status of the other players after the game, a Michigan spokesman said.



Sun, Sep 4, 2011 : 3:34 a.m.

I watched on TV like most fans. That first delay still seems unnecessary because it was an isolated downpour which lasted just minutes and there was no lightning. I live close to the stadium and could see the same things as those officials inside: the sun was actually shining during much of the few minutes it rained. They also had access to the same weather radar as everyone else at home - which showed at the time there was not a real storm, just a "dot" of rain over A2. The real storm cells were on their way: but wouldn't arrive for about an hour. I think that 26 minute delay cut unnecessarily into the playing time. I'm enthused over the improvements in defense especially: once they got their bearings, the defense showed real improvement in pass coverage, pressuring the quarterback and forcing turnovers. We also saw that Wile is a REAL kicker. I think the biggest shortfall (again so far this year) is with special teams ball returns. Compared to WMU ball returns: Michigan's were puny. Welcome back the running backs! I think the use of ground game was pretty good and it was apparently effective in wearing down the Broncos' defense at a couple of points. The question yesterday was: Will they be improved? The question now is: Will they continue improving? Now at least there's evidence that Michigan will do just that.


Sun, Sep 4, 2011 : 1:46 a.m.

No one is suggesting that they should have continued playing during an active electrical storm. I do think they should have waited it out and finished the game. ND and South Florida did, to a most excellent end.

Craig Lounsbury

Sun, Sep 4, 2011 : 12:50 a.m.

If the game was tied or Michigan was losing by 3 the game would have gone on. But M gets a win and Western gets a big paycheck so the powers that be are happy. Its about money anymore. Thats not a "passing judgment" statement just a point of fact. In the 132 year history of Michigan football that wasn't the first Saturday afternoon thunderstorm.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Mon, Sep 5, 2011 : 1:23 a.m.

Nonsense. I've been going to Michigan games for nearly 20 years continuously and spotty for years before that. The only time there was a thunderstorm in those was against EMU in 2005. They did the same thing and finished the game only after the storm had cleared. Yesterday there was a string of severe thunderstorms stretching back across the state. The only way that game gets finished is if they play until midnight. Good Night and Good Luck

Craig Lounsbury

Sun, Sep 4, 2011 : 12:53 a.m.

why not just take a page from the world of chess and allow a team to resign?


Sun, Sep 4, 2011 : 12:46 a.m.

The D definitely came on strong in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, and they started making the WM O look confused and out of sink ... it's great to see an attacking style D, and good coaching that obviously made some good adjustments as the game went on. After the 1st drive they only scored 3 points. The O looked fairly good, especially considering that we implemented a new system this year. 7.2 yards per play average is very solid. NO turnovers and only 1 penalty are good signs also. I would say that we need to improve on special teams. A blocked extra point, and we gave up some fairly long kick off returns. Overall a 34-10 win is a good start. Go Blue !


Sun, Sep 4, 2011 : 12:30 a.m.

We were getting stronger as the game transpired. We were going in for another score when they stopped the game. If this was a normal non-delayed game, UM would have poured it on while we were wearing them down. Hoke get's it! Hoke is it!!!


Sun, Sep 4, 2011 : 12:28 a.m.

U-M definitely looked sloppy at times, especially the first quarter. But I like the direction that they are headed in. ND will be a truer test of the Wolverines' abilities and game planning. Too bad the game had to be stopped early on account of rain. As for the weather: welcome to Ann Arbor, Michigan! <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Dean edwards

Sun, Sep 4, 2011 : 12:14 a.m.

The first drive of the game was what i thought was a sign of what is to come this year . players out of position no pass rush just ugly.But this year they have coaches THANK GOD . they actualy made some changes and it started working .Although they were still able to move the ball CARDER and WNITE work very well together , I hope thats the reason that thier running game was working . wesern should not have been able to be as affective as it was .westerns line is nothing to speak of , thier running back looked solid. If MICHIGAN is to become a true big ten champion or B.C.S. contender they will have to wait until they get the TALENT on DEFENSE . But they showed they can be oprtunnistic at times if they continue to improve while the game goes on they might just suprise me and everybody elese who might have some uncertaintes about the DEFENSE GO BLUE BABY


Sun, Sep 4, 2011 : 12:13 a.m.

Oh man, I miss weather like this. It may sound weird coming from a Seattlite, but I miss this type of rain. All we ever get out here is this wimpy, persistent rain from October through June. Boring. Also, that's the weirdest end to a Michigan football game I've ever witnessed. It's football.... shouldn't the game have been finished?! I know it was mutually agreed upon, but come on... Go Blue!


Sun, Sep 4, 2011 : 1:48 a.m.

@ AAFISH, Good point. With regard to the potential lightning strike, definitely not! I wonder, though, if the game couldn't have been finished safely with someone dedicatedly monitoring the radar. Or at least 85%-90% done... And yes, I completely believe you on the lightning in Seattle! After 4 years here, I think I've only heard thunder on 3-4 occasions.


Sun, Sep 4, 2011 : 1:04 a.m.

@garrison -- Yes, as a retired airline pilot who used to fly to Seattle frequently (due to my daughter's living there, mostly, but even many years before that), I can agree that Seattle rain is primarily &quot;wimpish,&quot; and &quot;boring.&quot; But --as a pilot -- I used to appreciate Seattle's rather benign weather. I think I saw lightning there exactly TWICE, in over 20 years of flying there. And -- I must ask you -- would you be happier had the football players been struck by lightning? After all, that may well have been the result had the game been &quot;finished.&quot; Just wondering --

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sun, Sep 4, 2011 : 12:09 a.m.

The D showed the same weaknesses as last year. They are, after all, the same players with the same talents. What IS different is that the D-Coord took some risks, camouflaged his coverages, did all he could to confuse the other team's QB. Early in the 1st Qtr the QB could see what was coming at him and was making adjustments at the LOS. By mid-way in the second, he was completely confused. Good coaching can make up for talent deficit. Today was a prime example. A good first game, but a real test next week. Good Night and Good Luck


Sun, Sep 4, 2011 : 12:45 a.m.

Edward, O-Line to me is a bright stop on the team. If they have an injury there the offense will struggle like prior years. Depth as we know is the main concern and team speed. Both sides of the ball need the snaps today. The weather was the real opponent today.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sun, Sep 4, 2011 : 12:34 a.m.

You are correct about D-Rob. Missed a wide open Koger on a deep pass--one that he had all of the time in the world thanks to his O-line. I was commenting about your characterization of the O-line's play, nothing more. Good Night and Good Luck


Sun, Sep 4, 2011 : 12:29 a.m.

He was late on several throws and he only had a good mechanics on a few throws. If Western had any team speed this is a different game. I DVRed the game and rewatched the game during the delay. If the D has to Blitz every play against Western to be effective we are in for a long season.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sun, Sep 4, 2011 : 12:23 a.m.

We must have been watching different games, Chilltime. D-rob never got sacked that I recall, and several times he had all day to throw the ball. And there were two drives where the O simply put down the blade and plowed. I thought the O Line looked quite good. Good Night and Good Luck


Sun, Sep 4, 2011 : 12:19 a.m.

I do not think he was confused. In my opinion he saw the blitz and made made the reads. It was the o-line who let him down. He will be drafted and make an NFL squad next year. I will not be convince until the B1G season. Also the O did not look to good to me. Timing seemed off in the passing game. Glad they played Directional U.


Sun, Sep 4, 2011 : 12:16 a.m.

We'll see. ND is losing 23-7 to South Florida. I thought they looked much better that any game during the last three years: Tackling was much better, they played more consistently, coaching adjustments, as you mentioned, also much improved, offensive play calling was more diverse, we controlled the ball on several long drives, defense came up huge scoring two TDs.


Sun, Sep 4, 2011 : 12:03 a.m.

They need to shore the run defense. Wideside is going to be a problem. Goofing they got the 94 yard interception return because this could have been a different game.


Sun, Sep 4, 2011 : 12:04 a.m.

Oops! Lol! Meant to type good thing they got the interception return.

Kai Petainen

Sun, Sep 4, 2011 : 12:03 a.m.

just saw a blue explosion. Something got hit.


Sat, Sep 3, 2011 : 11:49 p.m.

Hey 1st Down, that's exactly right, I've been commenting here for a while now for people to notice how Hoke is calm and cool under pressure during a game. I was dismayed at the 1st WMU drive, but the coaches made adjustments and had a really great offensive game plan. Just as I suspected. I think this is a really good WMU team, especially Offensively. Anyone thinking we'll be better than they thought now? M will beat ND next week! This looks and feels like M Football folks! Where's the MCC people? I can't hear you....... Go Blue fir This is Michigan!!!


Sun, Sep 4, 2011 : 12:15 a.m.



Sat, Sep 3, 2011 : 11:42 p.m.

Just got home...... drenched but it was worth it. great game. I saw the team improve!!! coaches made adjustments!!!!! players got better today. now we can focus on ND, which I hear was down 16-0 at half when their game got delayed.

Kai Petainen

Sat, Sep 3, 2011 : 11:32 p.m.

It seems to me, that the most reasonable action, was to cancel the game. There's another cell coming through and it might have hit near the end of the game, or when people were leaving. Combine that with concerns voiced about transportation problems, and night setting in... it could have created some serious problems. I find it ironic that folks were concerned about the heat (and it was a factor), but it was lightning/rain that ended the game. My hats off to the first responders that worked today -- it must not have been easy. To the debate about the traffic and not having extra help -- you may want to review the events of today, and decide if that was the best decision.


Sun, Sep 4, 2011 : 12:31 a.m.

@Kai -- Yes, you're certainly right that canceling the game was the best way to handle things. I was looking at the radar, too, and I think you're right that the following cell would have hit right at the end of the game -- had it been continued. Lightning is nothing to be taken lightly, and all too many people dismiss it as nothing significant. (Even though it can KILL them, or at least render them no longer their former selves.) (Most lightning strike victims do survive, but they suffer impairments, in not the least of these -- mental capacities.) (STILL wanna take a chance of being struck by lightning? OK, Good Luck.)

1st Down

Sat, Sep 3, 2011 : 11:32 p.m.

LOL...ND just threw another red zone INT and Kelly is cussing his players out in their faces....Im so glad we hired a calm, composed coach like Coach Hoke... things are looking good for next week!


Sat, Sep 3, 2011 : 11:14 p.m.

They cancelled a football game? To steal a line from Tom Hanks, &quot;There's no cancelling in football!&quot;

1st Down

Sat, Sep 3, 2011 : 11:14 p.m.

Well... it would have been good for the D and O to both get more reps....and the lack of time will cut down Denard's stats and possibly affect the Heisman at the end of the year (unlikely but possible) but we will take the win.

Kai Petainen

Sat, Sep 3, 2011 : 10:40 p.m.

look at a weather map. there is this cell, but then there is a bigger cell west of ann arbor near jackson. with the delays, it becomes more and more likely that the bigger cell would hit at the end of the game, or when folks are going to their cars?

Kai Petainen

Sat, Sep 3, 2011 : 9:33 p.m.

photo of the rain hitting the stadium here: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> when i took the photo, it was sunny outside. but on tv it was raining, so i looked outside... and i saw this raincloud.

Kai Petainen

Sat, Sep 3, 2011 : 9:52 p.m.

sun came out <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>