Opening kickoff return ignites Michigan Wolverines past Maryland, 38-7
By DAVID GINSBURG
AP Sports Writer
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — In a Big Ten matchup between Michigan and Maryland, Giles Jackson and Javon Leake each returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown.
The difference was, Jackson’s dash down the right sideline came on the opening kick, which helped make Leake’s third-quarter jaunt irrelevant to the outcome.
With Jackson getting things started in ideal fashion for No. 14 Michigan, the Wolverines cruised to a 38-7 victory Saturday.
Seeking to build on a 45-14 rout of Notre Dame one week earlier, the Wolverines (7-2, 4-2) went up 21-0 at halftime against the fading Terrapins (3-6, 1-5).
After Maryland won the coin toss and deferred the decision to the second half, Jackson picked his way through the Terrapins to give Michigan the lead for good with exactly 11 seconds elapsed.
“It’s a great way to start a game,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said. “You can’t start any faster than returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown. It was really well-blocked.”
Maryland followed with a three-and-out, and the Wolverines made it 14-0 on the first of two touchdown runs by freshman Zach Charbonnet.
Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson went 13 for 22 for 151 yards. It was hardly his finest performance, but he didn’t have to be great after Jackson went the distance with the opening kick.
“We always try to start fast, and that was a big emphasis coming into this game on the road,” Patterson said. “It was cool to see him take off and set the tone for the game.”
That wasn’t the only fashion in which the Wolverines’ special teams contributed. Michigan used a successful fake punt to set up Charbonnet’s second TD, and a partially blocked punt led to a third-quarter touchdown run by Hassan Haskins for a 35-0 lead.