No. 7 Michigan escaped with a 24-21 double-overtime win over Army after recovering a third-down fumble by the Knights.
The game headed to OT at 14-14 and both teams scored touchdowns on their first possessions. Michigan had the ball first to start the second overtime and QB Shea Patterson threw three incomplete passes. That led to a 43-yard field goal by Jake Moody that ended up being the winning margin.
Army QB Kelvin Hopkins, the man who scored the TD in OT, dropped back to pass on the Knights’ final play of the game. But he fumbled as he was pressured and Michigan recovered in the mad scramble for the ball.
Some baffling fourth-quarter decisions got Michigan in position for overtime in the first place.
The Wolverines got stopped at the Army 42 with fewer than three minutes left in regulation on a second straight run up the middle by freshman RB Zach Charbonnet. The two plays were run with QB Dylan McCaffrey in for Patterson who had cramped up on a second-down scramble.
Michigan could have punted and forced Army to drive down the field with an offense that’s not built to score points in a hurry. And Army also had a kicker that had never kicked a field goal before.
Instead, Army needed to go just 25 yards or so to give freshman kicker Cole Talley a chance at that first kick. However, the 50-yarder sailed wide right as time expired in the fourth quarter.
That last Michigan drive of regulation followed an even more baffling fourth-down decision on Michigan’s previous drive. Instead of settling for a go-ahead 36-yard field goal. Michigan ran the ball on fourth-and-2 from the shotgun. Charbonnet got stuffed and Army took over without Michigan getting any points out of the drive.
This screenshot after that eschewed field goal summed up the game pretty well for Michigan.
Michigan’s offense struggled
The Wolverines’ new-look offense under coordinator Josh Gattis looked just fine in an easy Week 1 win over Middle Tennessee State. The returns weren’t so good on Saturday.
Patterson was just 19-of-29 for 207 yards. And the running game was predictable early and often. Michigan ran a ton on early downs with limited success. Yeah, all three of the Wolverines’ scores came via rushing touchdowns. But Michigan had 45 carries for 108 yards. That’s an average of less than 2.5 yards a carry.
Another near-upset for Army
Army is going to pick off a big-name team sooner rather than later at this rate. The Black Knights took Oklahoma — a team that made the College Football Playoff — to overtime in Week 4 of the 2018 season before losing 28-21. Army then went on to win its final nine games of the season to finish 11-2.
The Knights made it an overtime further on Saturday against the Wolverines. And it’s hard not to see Army as one of the better teams outside the Power Five conferences once again even if its offensive statistics were far from overwhelming. Army threw the ball just five times and ran 61 times for 200 yards.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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