ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Wilton Speight faced a defense determined to stop the run.
Instead of being stubborn and sticking with a ground game, No. 5 Michigan asked Speight to put the ball in the air a lot and it worked out well.
Speight threw four touchdown passes, two to Jake Butt and two to Amara Darboh, to help the Wolverines rout the Knights 51-14 Saturday.
“They were bringing a lot of people,” Speight said after completing 25 of 37 passes for 312 yards in his second career start. “We knew we were going to run play action.”
The Wolverines (2-0) have won their first two games by a combined total of 97 points.
“We’re hungry,” Butt said. “We’re up 30 points and we want to be up 40.”
The Knights (1-1) got off to a relatively good start before getting blown out. They ran for a first down on the first snap and forced Michigan to punt after its first three plays.
UCF had a chance to pull within three points with 6-plus minutes left in the first quarter, but Chris Wormley blocked a kick for the Wolverines and a few minutes later they were up 14-0. Wormley blocked another field goal later in the game and the Wolverines appeared to get a hand on at least UCF’s first punt.
Butt’s second TD reception early in the second quarter gave Michigan a 31-0 lead.
“We think he’s the best tight end in the country,” Speight said. “He makes our job easy as a quarterback and receivers.”
Khalid Hill, a 6-foot, 2, 263-pound fullback, plunged into the end zone for his second score early in the third to pad the Wolverines’ lead to 41-7 and they didn’t have trouble keeping the comfortable cushion.
“It felt like we weren’t up by enough,” said Amara Darboh, who caught five passes for 111 yards and two TDs.
UCF: The Knights might need a new quarterback to run Scott Frost’s no-huddle offense. Justin Holman landed awkwardly at the end of a run in the first half, walked off the field gingerly after an evaluation and didn’t return to play. Nick Patti replaced Holman, who has an undisclosed injury. Frost said he may not have played even if cleared to return. “Just to make sure he is healthy going forward,” he said.
Michigan: The Wolverines will have something to work on this week despite another lopsided win. They struggled to run the ball with either De’Veon Smith or Chris Evans, forcing them to hand off to Hill and wide receiver Eddie McDoom to move the ball on the ground. “That tells me our guys are playing harder and fighting,” Frost said. “That’s really what I wanted to see.” Michigan allowed UCF to score on 87- and 34-yard runs, and allowed Holman to run for 35 yards and Patti to pick up 26 on a quarterback scramble.
UCF: The Knights host Maryland, the second Big Ten school to play at UCF and the first since Purdue in 1999.
Michigan: Rekindling memories of a dramatic finish, the Wolverines will play Colorado at home. Kordell Stewart lifted the Buffalos to a 27-26 win in the Big House on Sept. 24, 1994, with a 64-yard Hail Mary to Michael Westbrook on the last play of the game.
UCZF linebacker Shaquem Griffin made six tackles, ranking among team leaders against Michigan. That’s quite a feat for a player, whose left hand was amputated when he was 4 because of a birth defect.
Michigan didn’t have three key defenders available to play because of injuries: cornerback Jourdan Lewis, defensive tackle Bryan Mone and defensive end Taco Charlton. Last week, Harbaugh sounded as if he expected Lewis to play UCF. “Something different came up,” Harbaugh said. “A muscle strain.”
The Knights were not on the field during the national anthem, but Frost insisted it wasn’t a protest.
“They wouldn’t let us out there and there wasn’t any room on our sideline anyway,” he said. “Would have loved to been out there. There was a hundred people on our sideline, they held us in the tunnel.”
AP college football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org