No. 2 Michigan pulls away to beat Bowling Green 31-6
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - J.J. McCarthy followed up two fantastic performances with a clunker.
McCarthy threw a career-high three interceptions and had two touchdown passes to help No. 2 Michigan overcome a turnover-filled game in a 31-6 win over Bowling Green on Saturday.
“Put them all on me,” he said. “There’s a lot of stuff that obviously didn’t go my way, didn’t go the offense’s way.”
The Wolverines (3-0) did run the football relatively well as Blake Corum had a 54-yard run on his first snap and finished with 101 yards and two touchdowns.
Michigan was missing coach Jim Harbaugh, who will return from a school-imposed suspension for breaking NCAA rules next week against Rutgers.
The Falcons (1-2) forced three turnovers in the first half and kicked two field goals to stay within a point deep into the second quarter.
Bowling Green, though, turned the ball over two times on its first three snaps of the second half and that helped Michigan pull away.
McCarthy, who threw one more interception than he did in last season’s College Football Playoff loss to TCU, was 8 of 13 for 143 yards with two touchdowns.
He had a 33-yard pass to Roman Wilson late in the second quarter to put the Wolverines ahead 14-6 and a 50-yard touchdown pass to Cornelius Johnson, who made a twisting catch after the football went off a helmet and hands.
“It was definitely an ill-advised throw,” McCarthy said. “But I just gave him a chance.”
The Falcons were forced to play third-string quarterback Hayden Timosciek due to injuries.
Starter Connor Bazelak, a former Indiana and Missouri quarterback, missed the game with a lower-body injury and backup Camden Orth was hurt after completing 8 of 11 passes for 91 yards. Timosciek, a former Purdue walk-on, was 6 of 10 for 33 yards and two interceptions.
“Our kids love playing in these games, and these games are awesome, trust me,” Bowling Green coach Scot Loeffler said. “But at times, there’s a price for them, too. Unfortunately, the football gods gave us some misfortune with some injuries.”
Bowling Green: Two players were carted off the field: linebacker Demetrius Hardamon and tight end Levi Gazarek.
Hardamon was placed on a backboard and onto a stretcher before being carefully placed on the cart.
“The positive thing, and again I’m not a doctor, is that at least his hands were moving,” Loeffler said. “But I saw the hit and I knew right then and there, there was something wrong.”
Gazarek had an ankle injury.
“Nothing broken, which is great,” Loeffler said.
Michigan: Will Johnson and Rod Moore, standout defensive backs, have been held out of each game this season with injuries.
Bowling Green: The strong start could build confidence for a team coming off its first bowl game since 2015 and hoping to contend in the Mid-American Conference.
Michigan: McCarthy was nearly perfect through two games, completing 87% of his passes with five touchdowns and no interceptions. He struggled Saturday night, trying to make plays instead of throwing the ball away.
Michigan offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore was the fourth assistant to have a turn leading the team during Harbaugh’s absence.
“I didn’t really think about it as something for me,” Moore said.
Michigan suspended Moore for the first game for his role in the infractions that led to Harbaugh’s punishment.
Michigan has 18 straight home victories, its longest run since winning 21 in a row from 1998-2001. The Wolverines have won 28 of their last 31 games.
Bowling Green: Hosts Ohio (3-1) on Saturday in the Mid-American Conference opener for both teams, coming off the Bobcats’ win over Iowa State, and Loeffler said he has no idea who will start at quarterback.
“I might come out of retirement,” said Loeffler, who was a backup quarterback at Michigan in the mid-1990s before coaching the position group under former coach Lloyd Carr.
Michigan: Plays Rutgers (3-0, 1-0 Big Ten) in a fourth straight game at the Big House.
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