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Backup Quarterback O’Korn Helps Michigan Edge Past Purdue in West Lafayette

9 zdjęć · Autor: Justin Cohen · Data wydarzenia: 23.09.2017
Michigan Quarterback Being Interviewed at Michigan vs Purdue Football Game at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette_September-23-2017

Backup Quarterback O’Korn Helps Michigan Edge Past Purdue in West Lafayette 

By: Justin Cohen

West Lafayette, Indiana

With just under five minutes left in the opening quarter, Michigan starting quarterback Wilton Speight was removed from the game after being leveled by a Purdue defensemen. Backup quarterback John O’Korn, a fifth-year senior transfer from the University of Houston, came in and was just the answer Jim Harbaugh had been looking for all season behind center. 

Without even flinching, O’Korn led the undefeated Wolverines on a 13-play, 84-yard drive ending with a 12-yard touchdown pass to tight end Zach Gentry, a 6’7” 248-pound junior from Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was Gentry’s first career touchdown reception.

Entering the second half down 10-7 to the Boilermakers, and with a rowdy crowd on a very warm fall September afternoon, O’Korn would lead Michigan on another impressive drive down the field in the third quarter, resulting in a 10-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back, Chris Evans. The Wolverines took the lead 14-10 and never looked back. 

Michigan scored twice in the final quarter, first a one-yard touchdown run by fifth-year senior Ty Isaac, just minutes into the fourth quarter. And then again, with 6:36 to play in the game, it was Evans capping a five-play, 71-yard drive with a crushing 41-yard touchdown to put the Wolverines up for good, 28-10.

The Wolverines, who struggled at the quarterback position since the 2016 season, may have found their new starter. O’Korn was an impressive 18 of 26 for 270 total passing yards against a Boilermakers defense that ranked 86 entering the game for yards allowed per play.

“I thought John played really well,” said Harbaugh in the visiting locker room, as he met with reporters after addressing his team privately. “He was seeing things really good right from the time he came into the ball game. He ran the offense well, made big plays. That throw he made to (Zach) Gentry, seam right the middle. That was a big-time throw. He had others. I’m really proud of him. I’m proud of the whole team.”

Michigan had 24 first downs compared to just nine for Purdue, 14 of which were on passing plays. The Wolverines back field rushed for 139 total yards, while Purdue was only able to gain 30 rushing yards the entire afternoon. The visiting Wolverines were also impressive on third down conversions, converting on six of 15 chances compared to zero times by Purdue on 12 attempts. 

It was a much needed road win for Harbaugh’s squad, as they enter their bye week with a record of 4-0 (1-0 Big Ten) before hosting Michigan State on October 7 then traveling to Bloomington to play Indiana.

Next up for Purdue, a bye week then a home game at Ross-Ade Stadium against Minnesota on October 7, before traveling to Madison to face undefeated Wisconsin on Saturday, October 14.




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