After a bit of a bumpy beginning in Minneapolis, Michigan pulled away from the Gophers and cruised to a 35-13 victory. With the win Michigan improves to 6-3, 4-1. The Wolverines were led by Devin Gardner, who made his first career start at quarterback in place of the injured Denard Robinson.
1. Devin Gardner: He got off to a rough start, but settled in and piloted Michigan to a key win. Gardner was 12-18 for 234 yards with 2 TDs and 1 interception. He also had 21 yards rushing and a TD.
2. Jake Ryan racked up 9 tackles and 3 TFLs. As usual, Ryan was all over the field and being a disruptive force.
3. JT Floyd recorded 6 tackles and 2 pass break ups.
3 Key Plays
1. Trailing 7-0 and facing a 3rd down and 17, Devin Gardner did his best Randall Cunningham impersonation buying time in the pocket and launching a 45 yard TD pass to Drew Dileo.
2. On a 2nd down and 11 from the Michigan 14 yard line, the Gophers ran a reverse that Jake Ryan snuffed out for a 5 yard loss. Two plays later Minnesota ran a fake field goal that was thwarted. On the ensuing drive, Michigan marched 86 yards on 7 plays and Gardner hooked up with Jeremy Gallon for a TD that put U-M up 21-7.
3. Early in the 4th quarter, Gardner connected with Roy Roundtree for a 47 yard completion that gave Michigan a first and goal from the 3 yard line. Roundtree made a great play on the ball in heavy traffic and did a good job to maintain possession on the way down. Three plays later Devin Gardner muscled into the end zone and Michigan had a 28-10 lead.
Stat of the game
In the second quarter, Devin Gardner became the first player in school history to lead Michigan on back-to-back touchdown drives of 90 yards or more (91, 90). He also became the first Michigan QB to lead 4 touchdown drives of 74 yards or more in the same game.
After Gardner found his rhythm, he looked pretty good for a guy who hasn’t played QB since last season.
Raymon Taylor was once again impressive in coverage. He was also the player that thwarted Minnesota’s fake field goal attempt.
Michigan’s defense held the Gophers to 275 yards of offense, but there remains another level that they can take it to. “There are some things, as with every game, that we’re going to have to improve on,” Jordan Kovacs said. “We look forward to Coach Mattison teaching us this week.”
In the first quarter, Michigan gained just 9 yards of offense. Over the final 3 quarters they gained 380 yards.
Minnesota was 4-14 on third down conversion attempts.
Kenny Demens led Michigan with 10 tackles and also notched a TFL.
Brendan Gibbons now has 82 consecutive made PATs which is second in school history behind only J.D. Carlson (126). Gibbons streak almost came to an end after Michigan’s last TD when he missed a PAT, but the Gophers jumped offsides and Gibbons drilled the mulligan through to keep the streak alive.
Jeremy Gallon had 4 receptions for 72 yards and a TD. He also rushed for a career-high 21 yards.
Will Hagerup entered the game as the Big Ten’s leading punter. He definitely had an off day with 3 punts that covered just 88 yards (29.3 average).
Thomas Rawls carried the ball a career-high 16 times. He rushed for 43 yards and a TD.
Quinton Washington has become the anchor of Michigan’s defensive line. He might not post big stats, 2 tackles against the Gophers, but he has done a great job of clogging things up in the middle.
What it means
Michigan remains in the hunt for the Legends Division title, but thanks to Nebraska’s comeback win at MSU, the Wolverines need help. Devin Gardner made the most of his first career start and certainly made a statement in his quest to be Michigan’s QB next season. Up next for the Wolverines is a visit from Northwestern.