Observations on the win over Minnesota, 29-26
Well, sometimes it is better to be lucky than good. Michigan converted 4 red zones for 29 points. Minnesota also had 4 red zones for only 9 points including their final red zone with 2 seconds to go that was "stuffed" by a Wolverine Goal Line Stand to end the game. The Gophers scored 6 points off 2 Michigan turnovers, and a two minute time of possession advantage resulted in 7 more offensive plays for Minnesota.
Offense came up with 20 first downs, 296 net yards, and was 5 of 13 in 3rd and 4th down efficiency. Jake Rudock was 13 of 21 for 140 yards and a TD, but had to leave the game with a neck injury in the 3rd quarter after he scrambled out of the pocket. He was replaced by Wilton Speight who went 3 of 6 for 29 yards and a TD to Jehu Chesson which proved to be the game winner, and then hit Amara Darboh on an important 2 point conversion. Chesson caught 2 TD passes of 3 receptions for 33 yards plus got 22 yards on a reverse. Darboh caught 6 passes for 73 yards. Jabrill Peppers sparked the offense in the 2nd half with 16 yards in 4 carries including a 9 yard TD from the "Wildcat." Drake Johnson had 10 carries for 55 yards. Joe Kerridge also scored a 4 yard TD as the Wolverines combined for 34 carries totalling 127 yards. Neither Ty Isaac nor Karan Higdon saw action at running back. Jabrill Peppers played 92 plays on offense, defense, and special teams.
Defense played poorly the whole evening, but got a big stop with 2 seconds to go to win it! Minnesota gained 20 first downs, 461 net yards with 144 on the ground. Mitch Leidner was 16 of 33 for 317 yards and a TD plus ran 11 times for 37 yards and another TD. Rodney Smith was a tough runner with 12 carries for 74 yards, and a 17 yard reception. Shannon Brooks also hurt the Wolverines with 12 carries for 33 yards plus a 40 yard reception. K.J. May caught 6 passes for 58 yards including a few really big ones on the last drive to keep the Gopher hopes alive. Brandon Lingen caught 5 for 111 yards, and Rashad Still caught 2 for 69 yards including a 52 yard TD reception. James Ross and Joe Bolden were in on 9 tackles each, and Jarrod Wilson was in on 8 tackles; Ross and Wilson each had sacks. Although Channing Stribling was burned on the final pass play setting up the goal line stand, he hustled back to stop the play at the half yard line; that was all we needed to win it.
Special Teams were solid again keeping us in the game despite a porous defense and a meager offense. Jabrill Peppers highlighted play with a 41 yard punt return setting up our second score plus a 43 yard kickoff return. Kenny Allen led an outstanding performance by our kickoff team with 3 touchbacks, and only two short kickoff returns with tackles by Ben Gedeon and James Ross. Blake O'Neill punted 5 times for a 44 yard average including two downed inside the 20 after his first punt only went 32 yards; each team punted 5 times, and had two "3 and outs." Ryan Santoso kept the Gopher hopes alive with a 4 for 4 night on field goals, and two extra points for a total of 14 points, but his short 29 yard punt that went out of bounds at the 40 yard line with 8:36 to go put the Wolverines in the field position to execute their final drive as Speight led them in a 7 play, 40 yard gem that put the defense in position to stop the Gophers.
Well, home cooking will really taste good this week with Rutgers invading Ann Arbor. We really need to re-group as our coaching staff was certainly outcoached by the Gopher coaches until the last two plays of the game. I don't know what Claeys was thinking on those two plays, but it wasn't good coaching, that's for sure. We'll take the win!!! Go Blue!
Observations on the first half with the Gophers, 14-16 Highlights Box Score Post Game Press Conference Player Participation
Jim Harbaugh Press Conference on October 26 Players Games Notes (Minnesota Game Notes for Michigan) Jerry Kill Resigns, Will the Gophers dedicate this game to their Coach?