Obi Oluigbo made a huge play on the kickoff cover team
The Wolverines' much maligned kickoff cover specialists had a big game on Saturday led by the key play made by 5th-year senior Obi Oluigbo. On the ensuing kickoff after Michigan had gone ahead 13-7 on the 69-yard TD bomb from Henne-to-Manningham, Oluigbo (pictured above) knocked the ball free from the hands of kick returner David Grimes. An alert Morgan Trent recovered the ball on the Notre Dame 27 yardline. Michigan's offense (helped by a 9-yard pass play to fullback Oluigbo) quickly drove for a TD to put the Wolverines up 20-7 and the Irish never recovered.
The kickoff cover team limited Notre Dame to 158 return yards on 7 returnable kickoffs for a 22.6 yard average and it caused the fumble described above. The longest return it allowed all day was for 27 yards whereas the previous week vs. CMU the unit had yielded two returns of 40+ yards. Additionally, against Notre Dame kicker Ross Ryan had two touchbacks including the opening kickoff of the game which got things started off on the right foot for the kickoff cover team and for Michigan as a whole. That must have been one heck of a week of practice leading up to the Notre Dame game because this entire special teams unit came together and played substantially better than it had the first two weeks of the season. Go Blue!
*Note: Photo of Obi Oluigbo by John T. Greilick/The Detroit News