Through 3 games, Michigan’s offense has entered its opponents’ intimate, vulnerable “red zone” on 10 occasions, with senior QB Wilton Speight attempting a total of 12 passes. These are all of Speight’s 2017 “red zone” completions, ranked:
1. Speight connects with Grant Perry for a 1-yard loss on 2nd and goal against Air Force
This is Wilton Speight at his 2017 “red zone” best. Up just 16-13 with 4 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, the Wolverines face 2nd and goal at the Air Force 8, deep within the vermilion region. Speight snaps the ball and connects on his first inside-the-20 pass of the season, a perfect spiral to Grant Perry, who is immediately tackled. It should have been for no gain, but a regressive referee deprives Perry of forward progress and marks the ball at the 9 for a 1-yard loss. Now faced with 3rd and goal from the 9 instead of the 8, Michigan and Speight are forced to hand off to Ty Isaac for a 3-yard loss on 3rd down and then settle for a field goal.
Honorable Mention: On 4th and goal against Florida, Speight hits Kekoa Crawford for a TD that’s invalidated by a bogus ineligible man downfield penalty on Khalid Hill
Superstitious fans believe their shirt choices and couch positions affect the game, but it’s the breaks on the field that really determine football fates. Doing his best Josh Rosen impression, Speight threw for an unlikely “red zone” touchdown on his first drive of the season against Florida. But it was called back on an illegible ineligible man downfield penalty, and Michigan kicked a field goal. Imagine what could have been for Wilton and the Wolverines had that “red zone” score stood…
Overflowing with confidence, Speight would have carved up Florida’s secondary, avoiding pick sixes, and throwing back-to-back touchdowns to his own receivers instead. He would have poured it on against Cincinnati in a 50-point rout, and against Air Force, the mere threat of Speight dropping back would have opened gaping rushing lanes. With Wilton sitting on 10 TDs and no INTs entering Big Ten play, Heisman talk would be swirling. Asked to comment on Ohio State QB JT Barrett’s struggles, Speight would offer a wry smile and tell the reporter he was “just focusing on Purdue.”