Observations on the win over Minnesota, 35-13
Michigan scores 21 points in 3 red zone trips, and holds the Gophers to only 13 points in 4 red zone visits.
Offense gained 389 net yards, 155 on the ground with 18 first downs converting 8 of 12 in 3rd and 4th down conversions. Devin Gardner was 12 of 18 for 234 yards, 2 TDs, 1 interception, 3 sacks and gained 21 yards in 10 carries for a TD. Gardner played with both "grit" and poise, very impressive performance after a shaky start. Fitzgerald Touissaint motored for 70 yard in 13 carries for a TD. Thomas Rawls ran 14 times for 43 yards and a TD. Jeremy Gallon caught 4 passes for 72 yards and a TD, and ran for 21 yards in 2 carries. Drew Dileo had 4 catches for 69 yards.
Defense was solid. We stopped the Gophers on a 4th down twice, and held them to 6 of 18 in 3rd and 4th down conversions. The Gophers only gained 275 yards, 128 on the ground. Kenny Demens led the defense with 10 tackles, 1 for loss and Jake Ryan had 9 tackles, 3 for loss. Ramon Taylor, Jordan Kovacs and J.T. Floyd had 6 tackles each. Floyd took two pass interference calls, but also had two pass break ups. Frank Clark forced a fumble, and it was recovered by Courtney Avery; the other forced fumble was by Jordan Kovacs on his sack that he recovered. Brennan Beyer and Cam Gordon had to leave the game with injuries. Philip Nelson was only 13 of 29 for 142 yards, 1 TD and 1 sack. Kirkwood only gained 58 yards on 16 carries.
Special Teams has some work to do! Will Hagerup had 3 punts for a 27.3 yard average. Jeremy Gallon returned 2 punts for 3 yards. Dennis Norfleet returned 2 kickoffs for 39 yards. We took 2 bad special teams penalties, and Brendan Gibbons got a lucky re-kick on the last extra point he missed.
Northwestern will be quite a test next week. They are solid on offense and defense plus they are well-coached and have two weeks to prepare for us with a bye week. The Wildcats only two losses were in games they were well ahead going into the 4th quarter to Nebraska at home, 28-16, and Penn State on the road, 28-17. We can only hope Michigan State beats Nebraska to give us a chance to win the division if we win out. Go Blue!