Wilson and Booker shine as Utes spoil Harbaugh debut

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Running back Devontae Booker had 124 combined yards and a touchdown and Utah spoiled Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan coaching debut, beating the Wolverines 24-17 on Thursday night.

utesuniversity-of-michigan_logoThe Utes took a 24-10 lead on Justin Thomas’ 55-yard interception return for a touchdown with 7:58 left in the fourth quarter in the opener for both teams.

Harbaugh faced many of the same issues the Wolverines had under former coach Brady Hoke.

Quarterback Jake Rudock beat out Shane Morris for the start and the Iowa transfer had a reputation for limiting turnovers. Rudock promptly threw three interceptions against Utah, and finished 27 for 43 for 279 yards and two touchdowns. Michigan was held to 355 total yards, gaining only 76 on the ground.

Utah linebacker Jared Norris (41) tackles Michigan tight end Jake Butt (88) in the first quarter during an NCAA college football game, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Utah linebacker Jared Norris (41) tackles Michigan tight end Jake Butt (88) in the first quarter during an NCAA college football game, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Booker overcame a slow start to have a team-high seven catches for 55 yards and added 69 yards rushing. Travis Wilson threw for 208 yards and ran for 53 yards and a touchdown.

One of Harbaugh’s first big decisions was choosing a quarterback from Iowa transfer Jake Rudock and Shane Morris, last season’s backup on a 5-7 team. Rudock got the start and threw interceptions. The last came in the fourth quarter and was returned 55 yards for a touchdown that made it 24-10.

It was telegraphed sideline throw that never had a chance. When Rudock got to the sideline, he was greeted by Harbaugh, who put one arm around the quarterback, said a few words and patted him on the head.

Michigan fans will need as much patience with their new coach as he showed with his player.

Justin Thomas pick-6 seals the win (video)

Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

 

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