Observations on the overtime win over Northwestern, 27-19
Michigan comes up with six red zones, three in overtime for 24 points while Northwestern gained 16 points in four red zone trips. Thomas Gordon got the game's only turnover on the last play of the game with a game ending interception in the end zone.
Offense gained 365 net yards. Gardner was 24 of 43 for 226 yards and a TD, and ran 17 times for 19 yards although sacked 5 times; he scored the winning TD in the 3rd overtime, and converted the two point conversion with another run to paydirt. Offense had 26 first downs, but was only 5 of 20 in 3rd and 4th down conversions. Jeremy Gallon caught 10 passes for 115 yards while Devin Funchess caught 6 for 61 yards; his fumble recovery in the second overtime prevented a Wildcat win. Jake Butt caught his first TD as a Wolverine in the first overtime. Freshman Derrick Green got his first start as a Wolverine, and ran 19 times for 79 yards; Freshman DeVeon Smith gained 39 yards in 9 carries. We came back in the second half to come up with a 4 offensive play advantage even though the Wildcats held nearly a 1 minute time of possession advantage. Treveon Henry led Northwestern with 13 tackles while Damien Proby had 11; the Wildcats had 5 missed picks on the day.
Defense came up with big stops all day. James Ross led the defense with 13 tackles including a sack. Courtney Avery had 8 tackles; Thomas Gordon, Ramon Taylor and Desmond Morgan had 7 tackles each. Jibreel Black came up with a huge sack in the 3rd overtime that forced the Wildcats to throw desperation passes with 3rd and 4th down and 23 yards to go. Northwestern had 322 net yards, 20 first downs, and was 7 of 22 in 3rd and 4th down conversions. Siemian and Colter were 23 of 34 for 179 yards. Kain Colter gained 78 yards in 19 attempts for a TD; Mike Trumpy and Treyvon Green combined for 70 yards on anothger 21 carries. Tony Jones and Christian Jones each caught 5 for Northwestern.
Brendon Gibbons hit 4 field goals including a 44 yarder with time expiring in a breathtaking play when the team lined up within seconds to execute a complex play with player substitutions after a catch by Jeremy Gallon at the 27 yard line with 11 seconds to go in the game; holder Drew Dileo slid into the holder position on the hashmark so Gibbons could loft it up through the uprights. Jeff Budzien also hit 4 field goals for Northwestern. Matt Wile came up big with 6 punts for a 42.5 yard average, and nailing 3 punts inside the 20 in a game of field position
It was good to see the team fight with grit and toughness, and not give up. What started out as a boring game in the rain with 20+ m.p.h. winds for 3 quarters ended up as a classic thriller.
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