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Michigan Wolverines seek 1st home football win since 2019 this afternoon

By LARRY LAGE

AP Sports Writer

ANN ARBOR — Michigan will soon get a chance to accomplish something it failed to do last season.

The Wolverines were winless at home during the pandemic-shortened season. They finished 2020 with two wins, four losses and three games canceled due to a COVID-19 breakout.

Michigan, unran

ked in the preseason for the first time since coach Jim Harbaugh’s debut season in 2015, can’t wait to host Western Michigan this afternoon.

“We’re really hungry, especially coming off the season we had last year,” receiver Mike Sainristil said. “That wasn’t really Michigan football. Of course I’m not happy we had a losing season, but it was a reality check for us.”

The Broncos were 4-2 last season, playing only Mid-American Conference schools. They return 19 starters on both sides of the ball. Kaleb Eleby is back under center after throwing 18 touchdown passes and just two interceptions last season.

“Quarterback Eleby, really fantastic,” Harbaugh said. “When you rank third in the country in pass efficiency, that’s playing really efficient. That’s playing really good football.”

Likewise, coach Tim Lester is a fan of the quarterback he has been preparing to face.

Harbaugh named Cade McNamara his starter on Monday, an announcement that Lester said did not surprise him based on how the quarterback played last season.

“He gets rid of the ball on time,” Lester said. “He has good feet. He can extend plays. Quarterbacks with good timing have success. He was by far the most efficient guy they had last year.”

Unlike last season, the Big House will welcome fans, and that fires up Harbaugh.

“I’m excited about it,” he said. “I think all our players are. I think Ann Arbor is. Most people I’ve talked to can’t wait to be back in that stadium. The only thing I could really compare it to is a Super Bowl environment.”