The anxiously awaited 2016 Wolverine Football season finally arrived Saturday on a beautiful afternoon, as it has on so many Saturday afternoons. There was a two jet flyover, the usual spectacle of band, cheerleaders, dancers, and luminaries such as Honorary Captain Michael Jordan, and former Michigan greats. The stands brimmed with over 110,000 fans.
But this year it was different. It was too early for the smell of burning autumn leaves, but after the game started there was the faint odor of 17 burning redshirts as 17 freshman committed themselves to using their first year of eligibility. What! Unheard of!
This year expanded fan expectations and a ton of hype roared down the tunnel along with the Wolverines. The Wolverines started the season projected as seventh nationally in the AP poll, but second to Ohio State in the Big Ten East race.
The demolition of the Rainbow Warriors Saturday will not diminish expectations, but maintain and encourage them. Even after careful consideration of the Rainbow Warriors many football shortcomings this year, this was an outstanding opening performance by the Wolverines, by both the youngsters and the old guard. The defense as a unit had ten TFLs, four sacks, two pick sixes, and a forced fumble. Hawaii was 1 for 11 on third downs. LBs Mike McCray, Jabrill Peppers and Ben Gedeon combined for 24 tackles.