Author Archives: Brendan Boyd

Michigan Defeats Middle Tennessee State in Season Opener

The University of Michigan Football team opened up their 2019-2020 season on Saturday with a 40-21 victory over Conference USA foe Middle Tennessee State (8-6 & 1st in C-USA East Division in 2018) at the Big House.

All eyes were on senior quarterback Shea Patterson and Michigan’s new hybrid offense, which borrows elements of the pro-style, spread and up-tempo offensive systems, under first-year offensive coordinator Josh Gattis. The Wolverines received the kickoff to start the game, and the senior quarterback and his offensive teammates trotted out on the field ready to unleash their “speed in space” scheme.

It didn’t exactly start off as expected, though.

On the first offensive play from scrimmage, Patterson fumbled the ball over to the Blue Raiders while scrambling to escape the MTSU pass rush. It seemed as if all air was sucked out of Michigan Stadium, and on the ensuing possession, Middle Tennessee State QB Asher O’Hara would escape three Michigan tacklers in the backfield and scamper for 18 yards into the end zone to give his team a 7-0 lead early in the game against the heavily favored Wolverines.

“A win is a win, but I don’t think anyone in that locker room felt like we played up to our standard.” Shea Patterson

Michigan would straighten things out, however. After a Jake Moody field goal to make the score 7-3, Patterson found a wide open Tarik Black in the end zone for Michigan’s first touchdown of the season.

Despite some sloppiness on both sides of the ball, Michigan had the game relatively in hand for the rest of the night after Black’s touchdown catch. Patterson tossed two more scores on the night, one to wide receiver Nico Collins and another to tight end Sean McKeon. Jake Moody added to the scoring, tacking on another field goal, and both backup junior quarterback Dylan McCaffrey and running back Ben VanSumeren ran their way into the blue-turfed end zone. A failed two-point conversion after the McCaffrey touchdown would leave the Wolverines with the 40 points that concluded their scoring for the night. Blue Raider quarterback Asher O’Hara would go on to throw for two touchdowns, including one coming in garbage time with just over a minute left to play, to bring us to the final score of 40-21.

Shea Patterson did not seem to be completely pleased with the Wolverine’s performance:

“A win is a win, but I don’t think anyone in that locker room felt like we played up to our standard,” said Patterson after the game. “We’ve got to play better. I’ve got to play better.” Questions were raised by fans and media members about the quality of Patterson’s play both during the game and after, but fifth-year head coach Jim Harbaugh seemed to provide an explanation during postgame interviews:

“I thought Shea (Patterson) played extremely well. He was working through a little something, he was being evaluated at halftime. I was keeping a close eye on him. (Patterson) Had some quarterback runs designed in the third quarter that I prefer to see Dylan (McCaffrey) running because I didn’t want to make Shea’s issue worse. Made some great plays, did a great job.”

The Wolverines obviously suffered through some growing pains in their first game under the new offensive system.

Despite that, Harbaugh was optimistic and said that he had seen a lot of good things, but admitted, “we’ve seen in practice (that) we can operate cleaner…That’s what we’ll strive for this next week. This is a new offense, and for a first time out, it was good. Could it be better? Yeah, sure, and that’s what we’ll be striving for.”

Nobody knows how deep Josh Gattis delved into his playbook on Saturday night, but despite the shakiness, he did enough to spark excitement from a lot of the Michigan faithful.

Michigan’s defense, for the most part, looked promising. Like the offense, they faced some adversity, and still have a lot of room to improve. They gave up 301 total yards and three touchdowns, but also forced a fumble and an impressive interception by junior Ambry Thomas. Don Brown is in his fourth year as Michigan’s defensive coordinator, and it is expected that the Wolverine defense will be a bright spot once again this season.

The Michigan football team continues their season next Saturday at the Big House in what could be a dangerous trap game vs. the Army Black Knights at Noon ET. Army runs the triple option like Navy and Air Force, which is an offense that has been known to give even the most talented defenses trouble. However, all eyes will still most likely be on the Gattis-run offense.

Back to School: Through the Eyes of a Student

As we begin to enter the final weeks of August, high school students are preparing themselves for an annual bittersweet event: Back to School.

Teens across the state brace themselves for the highs and lows of the academic rigor, athletic endeavor and social life that await them this year in the modern high school experience. We wanted to dive deeper into the mind of students preparing to trudge their way to school in the coming weeks and see what excitement or apprehensions they have about the forthcoming school year.

We gathered six area high school students and asked them four questions about back to school expectations in hopes of gaining some valuable insight from today’s high school students.

The Students

Sarah W, 16, Junior at East Grand Rapids High School
Karlton Z, 17, Senior at Grant High School
Lauren S, 17, Senior at Kent City High School
Nick F, 18, Senior at Kent City High School
Hannah G, 16, Sophomore at Sparta High School
Jared S, 16, Sophomore at East Kentwood High School

“What are you most excited about when going back to school?”

Sarah W: ““My first hour online class. I’m learning sign language.” 
Karlton Z: “Getting back to playing tennis. It’s my favorite sport.” 
Lauren S: “To start preparing for my future through taking some more advanced classes and some more classes that are geared toward what I want to do for a future career.” 
Nick F: “To finish my senior year of sports so I can make a decision on where I want to compete at the next level.” 
Hannah G: “The new things I’ll be learning. Mostly academic, but it’ll be nice to see my friends and create new relationships with the new teachers I’ll be having.” 
Jared S: “Being able to see my friends once I get back to school.” 

“What are you least excited about when going back to school?”

Sarah W: “I am not looking forward to seeing the immature and rude people at my school.” 
Karlton Z: “All the stress that comes along with school. Trying to get good grades in classes and on tests and exams and stuff like that. Balancing school and other things is stressful as well.” 
Lauren S: “Trying to balance extracurriculars and work. I love my sports and stuff like that, but I need to make money for college and post graduation things. It’s just a lot of stuff to balance.” 
Nick F: “The tough college classes that I’m taking this year.”
Hannah G: “Any drama that might come my way.”
Jared S: “The amount of stress that the start of school and sports is going to put on me.”

“What would you like to accomplish this school year?”

Sarah W: “I want to try to have at least all A’s and B’s.”
Karlton Z: “I’d really like to be valedictorian of my graduating class. It’s been a dream of mine for a while.” 
Lauren S: “I really want to make it into a good college and have my future plans set before school gets out. Also, a state championship in band, basketball, and/or softball would be really nice.” 
Nick F: “I would really like to get in the top 10 in the state for cross country this year.” 
Hannah G: “I want to get good grades on my future exams, and I want to have a 95% or above in all of my classes.” 
Jared S: “I would like to get a 4 on my college board exam for my AP World History class.” 

“What are you most nervous about?”

Sarah W: “I’m most nervous about dangerous people entering the school. Bomb threats and shootings and things like that.” 
Karlton Z: “I’m really nervous about not making it to state for tennis. It’s my last chance to experience it, being a senior.” 
Lauren S: “I’m most nervous about stretching myself too thin. I have high goals set for myself and I gotta be smart about not over committing myself.”
Nick F: ” “I’m most nervous about what my final GPA is going to be. I’m hoping to keep it up this year.” 
Hannah G: “Not succeeding and not making my parents proud.”
Jared S: “The start of sports going into this upcoming school year.” 

The Similarities

Within the students answers, there were a couple similarities. The six were divided on what they were looking forward to between classes, extracurriculars, and seeing their friends at school.

Most, if not all of the students at one point mentioned being concerned about the high levels of stress that high school students have to experience at times. The current education system, combined with time consumed by other activities, can cause enormous amounts of stress and anxiety, not to mention the stressors that can be caused by peers and personal expectations.

As schools begin the 2019-2020 school year this week, it is important that family and friends help support students in classes and extracurriculars as well as keeping a watchful eye on any stress or anxiety that may be starting to build up. Check back for future articles detailing the warning signs family and friends should be monitoring.