J.J. McCarthy threw three touchdown passes to Roman Wilson and No. 2 Michigan opened a season of high expectations by taking down visiting East Carolina 30-3 on Saturday afternoon at Ann Arbor, Mich.
McCarthy completed 26 of 30 passes for 280 yards in the first meeting between the teams. Wilson had six catches for 78 yards.
The Wolverines were without suspended coach Jim Harbaugh, with defensive coordinator Jesse Minter in charge. Harbaugh is serving a school-imposed three-game suspension for recruiting violations.
The defensive unit was strong for Michigan, limiting East Carolina to 235 yards of total offense.
East Carolina began the game using Mason Garcia as quarterback and switched to Alex Flinn in the second quarter. Garcia returned late in the third quarter. The Pirates avoided a shutout with Andrew Conrad’s 33-yard field goal on the game’s last play.
McCarthy’s first touchdown pass in the opening quarter went for 14 yards. Blake Corum ran 2 yards for the second touchdown in the opening minute of the second quarter.
McCarthy and Wilson hooked up for a 10-yard scoring play 5:32 before halftime. James Turner’s 50-yard field goal came on the last play of the first half for a 23-0 lead. McCarthy was 16-for-18 for 181 yards in the first half.
Wilson caught a 15-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter.
Corum, who gained nearly 1,500 rushing yards last season, finished with 73 rushing yards on 10 carries and he also caught three passes for 5 yards.
Michigan ended up with a 26-12 advantage in first downs, with four of the Pirates’ first downs on their last possession. East Carolina was dinged for 88 yards on 10 penalties.
East Carolina had a goal-line stand in the third quarter to keep the score at 30-0, but it didn’t gain much momentum from that. The Pirates nearly pulled off an opening-day upset of North Carolina State last year, but they didn’t threaten in this one.
In the first quarter, East Carolina had 12 plays on offense. The Pirates punted twice and turned the ball over when Michigan’s Mike Sainristil intercepted a Garcia pass.
Garcia was 11-for-18 for 80 yards. Flinn went 6-for-11 for 52 yards.
–Field Level Media