MI needs the calm, collected, cool - and most importantly, controlled - Speight to evolve if it wants to take that long-awaited next step in the Big Ten conference under third-year coach Jim Harbaugh.
All the secrets will be unearthed during Saturday's game, but this much is known: The Wolverines lost a lot of stars off last season's 10-3 squad while 10 Florida players will be serving suspensions. The defense's only returning starter, captain Mike McCray, missed the first series, but he and the rest of the Wolverines' front seven picked up right where the Big Ten's best defense left off past year. The Wolverines went with a basic counter run to the left, with their right guard and a tight end pulling from right to left.
Riddle, a Marine Sergeant, wrote of his experiences as a 20-year-old sent to war in Iraq.
Jim Harbaugh gathered his team on Friday night and read them a letter.
"So it's a group of guys in a unit or on a team that come together and do their job". MI trailed at the half 17-13, however, the second half was a different story.
The Gators had won 27 consecutive season openers, the nation's longest such streak, since a home loss to MS in 1989.
"It's gonna hurt, and if it doesn't, then something is wrong", Florida coach Jim McElwain said. "We just go out and play". "[But] there's a number of plays in my head that I could have done better".
"I though we had a good plan, obviously, ' McElwain said".
After the Wolverines started the half with a 75-yard, 10-play drive capped by Karan Higdon's 3-yard touchdown run, Ambry Thomas forced and recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff.
With two seconds remaining Franks missed a potential game-tying 50-yard field goal to the left as Wakulla fell to Orlando Bishop Moore 37-34 in a see-saw battle for the FHSAA Class 5A title on Friday afternoon at the Citrus Bowl Stadium. The drive was highlighted by Isaac's 18-yard run, and a nicely thrown ball from Speight to Grant Perry for 28 yards to the Florida 10.
Speight's two interceptions put MI in a 17-10 hole, but fifth-year senior John O'Korn came in and led a drive that cut that deficit to 17-13 by halftime.
"I can't say I wont think about it", he said. I also think both offenses will struggle today as neither should have a lot of chemistry.
Nordin made four field goals, including a 55-yarder in the first half.
MI won't have to worry about its field-goal picking for a while. The nation's No. 1 kicker in the 2016 recruiting class, Nordin had initially committed to Penn State but signed with the Wolverines after a home visit that included a sleepover by Harbaugh.
In a nutshell - the defense was dominant, the offense was less so and scarred by a couple critical turnovers, and the kicking game has a real weapon.
On the following possession, MI faced a third-and-7 from its own 28.
So, the first MI game ball of 2017 goes to Ambry Thomas as his forced fumble and recovery ended up giving the game to MI for good.
In the end, Speight had a less-than-great game with 181 yards on 11-of-25 passing with the two interceptions. Most notably to be absent are wide receiver Antonio Calloway and running back Jordan Scarlett. When he found Notre Dame transfer Malik Zaire, the Wolverines forced almost all of his 17 second-half pass attempts to come under pressure.
"I just wanted to try to calm him down a little bit; that was a rough circumstance", Harbaugh said. "I thought Malik would come in and give us a change of pace at that point when we were still in the ballgame".