ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Michigan is off to a wobbly start this season and Army almost took advantage.
Jake Moody made a 43-yard field goal and the seventh-ranked Wolverines forced and recovered a fumble to hold on for a 24-21 double-overtime win over the Black Knights on Saturday.
The Wolverines (2-0) didn’t lead until the second extra period and would have lost at the end of regulation to the Black Knights (1-1) if Cole Talley made a 50-yard kick that was just short and to the right.
“The entire football game we made mistakes offensively — penalties, and turnovers, and turnovers on downs,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said. “The defense was not in the best positions, but they played great.”
It marked the second straight year the U.S. Military Academy nearly beat a top 10 team for the first time in more than a half century. The Black Knights pushed No. 5 Oklahoma into overtime on the road last year before losing 28-21.
“Those guys aren’t in there, ‘Oh, shucks’ and, ‘Isn’t that great, we gave them a good game?'” Army coach Jeff Monken said. “They’re heartbroken because they believed they were going to win that game.”
Army had won 10 straight, a run that college football’s winningest program barely stopped.
In overtime at the quiet Big House, Black Knights quarterback Kelvin Hopkins ran for a go-ahead, 6-yard touchdown and Michigan extended the game with Zach Charbonnet’s third TD. Hopkins was sacked and lost a fumble to end the game in the second overtime.
Aidan Hutchinson hit Hopkins to jar the ball loose and Kwity Paye recovered the fumble to seal the win.
“At that moment, I knew it was game,” Hutchinson said, still holding the final football used in the game about 30 minutes after it ended.
Michigan turned the ball over on downs twice in the fourth, including early in the quarter when Harbaugh could have chosen to kick a go-ahead, 36-yard field goal.
The Black Knights appeared to have the stronger and smarter team for much of the afternoon, running its triple option offense effectively and making fewer miscues.
“We just came here and took them to overtime with a bunch of guys that, frankly, nobody at this level recruited,” Monken said.
Army’s Sandon McCoy scored on a 1-yard TD in the opening quarter after Patterson lost a fumble on his first drive. The Wolverines answered with Charbonnet’s 2-yard touchdown on the ensuing possession to pull into a 7-all tie, a drive they kept alive with a fake punt. On the trick play on a fourth-and-10 from the Michigan 42, a short snap went to Michael Barrett and he threw a 25-yard pass to Dax Hill to pick up a desperately needed first down.
Harbaugh said he would’ve elected to punt if Delvin Gil was not called for a false start, which allowed him to see Army’s punt coverage that included a cornerback rushing for a block.
“They jumped offside and they saw it,” Monken said. “They must’ve checked to it, thrown it out there.”
Michigan running back Ben VanSumeren lost a fumble and the Black Knights took advantage, going ahead on Hopkins’ 1-yard TD run late in the second.
Hopkins threw an ill-advised pass on third-and-5 from the Michigan 5 and Lavert Hill intercepted it early in the third quarter. Michigan made the most of the opportunity with the ball, capping a 12-play drive with Charbonnet’s 1-yard TD run and pulled into a 14-all tie.
BY THE NUMBERS
Army: Connor Slomka ran for 92 yards on 18 carries. Hopkins accounted for two TDs for the second straight game, but was held to 41 yards on 18 carries and was 2 of 4 for 43 yards with an interception.
Michigan: Charbonnet ran for 100 yards and three TDs on 33 carries. Patterson was 19 of 29, with some drops and errant passes, for 207 yards. Ronnie Bell had seven receptions for 81 yards after the sophomore entered the game with 10 career catches.
Army: The Black Knights have become a team to watch in major college football. They gave the Sooners a scare last year and went on to win a program-record 11 games, including a third straight bowl victory. Army hasn’t beaten a top 10 team since knocking off No. 9 Penn State in 1963.
Michigan: If the Wolverines can’t figure out how to cut down on fumbling, they will have a hard time approaching their lofty goals of winning the Big Ten title and contending for a national championship. The new-look offense is still a work in progress, clearly, after two games under first-year coordinator Josh Gattis. Michigan has lost five fumbles in two games after giving up three fumbles last season.
Michigan will likely fall out of the top 10 after surviving a scare against an unranked team.
Army: Plays on Saturday against Texas-San Antonio in the Alamodome.
Michigan: The Wolverines have a lot of time to work on their problems before playing Sept. 21 at No. 17 Wisconsin.
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