A 29 point win with 0 turnovers.
Ondre is a sophomore, give it a rest.
Both ohio and nd are losing...
Just enjoy the day and leave Akron out of it.
Split out wide for most of the game, Devin Funchess set career highs in receptions and yards. [Photo: Bryan Fuller, MGoBlog]
After two ugly victories against overmatched opponents, Michigan entered their game against Minnesota with a reshuffled offensive line and a pressing need to placate the fanbase by not playing down to their opponent. After a slow start, they did just that, scoring 28 second-half points en route to a 42-13 homecoming victory.
The natives were restless during a plodding first half in which the two teams combined for just eight real drives (the Gophers ran out the last 1:25 of the half), due mostly to a 16-play, 75-yard march by Minnesota—during which they converted five third downs—that saw them tie the game at seven. That came after Jibreel Black forced a fumble by Gopher quarterback Mitch Leidner on the game's opening possession; James Ross recovered and the Michigan offense capitalized with six runs in six plays, covering 35 yards and capped by an eight-yard Fitz Toussaint touchdown.
The ensuing Gopher drive ate up most of the first quarter, allowing them to not only knot up the score, but keep it close for the rest of the half. This was "old time Big Ten football" in the worst sense—slow-paced, run-heavy, and not particularly effective. Four consecutive punts followed, and the heated battle for field position eventually went in Michigan's favor—after Matt Wile's 55-yard boot was downed by Dennis Norfleet at the Gopher one-yard line, Minnesota was forced to punt it away from the nine, and Drew Dileo took a line drive kick well into Gopher territory. Four plays later, Devin Gardner hooked up with Devin Funchess—who spent most of the game lined up at wide receiver—on a post route for a 24-yard touchdown with 1:25 left in the half. Fitting the general tenor of the game, Minnesota decided to forego any chance at points, running twice and carrying three timeouts into halftime.
If that seemed questionable at the time, it looked more so after Michigan drove 75 yards in nine plays to open the second half, bolstered by an improved running game and the emergence of Funchess, Giant Wide Receiver. The first four plays of the drives were runs of 14, 5, 8, and 9 yards; a 21-yard back-shoulder throw to Funchess set up a two-yard Derrick Green touchdown to cap the drive. The Gophers could only respond with a field goal to cut the Wolverine lead to 21-10; that would be the closest they'd get for the rest of the game.
Much of the credit for that can go to Funchess, who finished with seven catches for 151 yards—both career highs—and set up a late Gardner touchdown run with a 46-yard grab on the right sideline. Even though the numbers don't bear it out, the running game looked improved as well; though Michigan averaged just 3.2 yards per carry as a team, Fitz Toussaint (right, Upchurch) had an impressive 78 yards on just 17 carries, adding a second touchdown run from 12 yards out to give Michigan a 28-10 third-quarter lead that proved insurmountable. Chris Bryant, the new starter at left guard, proved adept as a puller, which allowed Michigan to run the play they'd like to (eventually) make their offensive identity: power.
Most importantly, considering the troubles of the last two games, Michigan didn't turn the ball over once, the first time they've done so since their 58-0 win over these same Gophers in 2011, Brady Hoke's first season at the helm. After looking flustered against UConn, Devin Gardner was very sharp, connecting on 13 of 17 passes for 235 yards and a touchdown while showing a calmness in the pocket that wasn't present in previous games. Gardner wasn't needed much as a runner, carrying the ball just seven times for 17 yards and a TD; in a game like this, that's just fine.
While the defense had trouble getting off the field on third downs, allowing Minnesota to convert on 8 of 15 chances, they were otherwise solid; the Gophers mustered just 281 total yards on 4.5 yards per play and couldn't score a touchdown after their second drive. The inside linebacker duo of Desmond Morgan and James Ross combined for 19 tackles, making it tough sledding for any Minnesota run up the gut. While the Wolverines had trouble covering Gopher TE Maxx Williams, who finished with 54 yards and a touchdown on five receptions, the rest of the Minnesota passing offense generated just 91 yards. While the Gophers missed a couple chances for big completions late, Michigan made up for that when Blake Countess stepped in front of a Leidner throw and returned it 72 yards to complete the scoring with just 1:19 on the clock. The biggest concern on that side of the ball going forward may be the health of nose tackle Ondre Pipkins, who was carted off the field with a left knee injury; he's a critical backup behind Quinton Washington.
Despite the close calls and consternation from the nonconference slate, Michigan now sits at 5-0 and 1-0 in the Big Ten, and after two harrowing wins over bad teams the Wolverines beat Minnesota in a wholly acceptable fashion—the slow pace masked a dominant effort until the game broke open late. In the end, Michigan scored five touchdowns on eight offensive drives, with the defense adding a sixth for good measure while forcing Minnesota to fight for every yard. It wasn't pretty in any aesthetic sense; the score, however, speaks for itself.
A 29 point win with 0 turnovers.
Ondre is a sophomore, give it a rest.
Both ohio and nd are losing...
Just enjoy the day and leave Akron out of it.
Gardner was not "sharp" under any definition of the word, as was inaccurate with about 9 of his 12 compeltions, helped out by good WR catches. Yes, given the last two games you can say he was "improved" but not sharp, and not accurate.
The rest of his post is way too negative, but right on IMO on DG.
Hmm. Well, I'll take any definition so long as it includes "zero turnovers."
Even if you don't like Ondre it is bad form to criticize a player after they get injured.
Are you always this pleasant after a big win, or do you always find something to bitch about?
And I wasn't bitching about the game. I was point out things in the OP that weren't true. The standards for this team have been lowered so far that 78 yards in 17 carries is now considered "impressive" smh
You could've found a better way to vent your criticisms.
TakeTheField isn't pleasant ever. He frequently targets specific people for destructive criticism, and at some point he's going to get himself to Bolivia if he keeps it up.
We didn't win by a bajillion and Minnesota had some good plays. UNACCEPTERBULL!!!!
have been noted before, and you aren't helping your case.
There's a fine line between pessimism and concern trolling. You're pretty well on the wrong side of that line.
How does this dude keep sliding?
Lets no be so harsh on Pipkins. I don't think it's in good taste to be so negative about a young player especially after an injury. He is still young and it has generally been the plan to have him get snaps, but be ready to replace Q-Wash next year. So, until we get to his junior year and he's still not producing I think it's premature to be so negative on him. And, doing so after an injury is just in bad taste, especially to a nice kid...he doesn't deserve that. If you don't think he's effective just say that & leave the rest of negativity alone.
I'll take a 4.5 yard average per carry any day of the week.
You are one of the most impressive trolls I have ever come across. Bravo.
for me; wish we could neg crap like this
29 point victory over a B1G opponent. No turnovers. Held opponent to 280 yards and 13 points.
So naturally let's be all negative about stuff.
All true, unfortunately. Damn you, TakeTheField
That Gabe Watson, with his multiple All Big-Ten seasons..Lombardi Watch List..and NFL career, man it would be terrible if Pipkins ended up like that.
no doubt, pipkens is a sophomore and has been one of the couple that actually pushes against the o-line, might not be getting sacks, but is making a push. devin's passes were at times inaccurate but most of them were there to be caught, the one that sticks out is the one he threw to taco pants (Dileo), but even that went through his hands. this team looked improved, there were definitely holes to run through, more than there has been. they are far from being a great team but if they keep improving each week, we'll be okay...8-9 wins. the running game was an improvement, still not great, but better. our oline will get better each week.
Offensively, I thought we made progress. No turnovers and very few negative plays. Funchess looks like the guy the passing game should be built around. He's going to catch just about anything he can reach. Gardner looked much more comfortable today.
was probably helped by the absence of Look Out blocking.
In the second half, the Minnesota coaches (since HC Kill is back home in Minnesota) made two bad decisions - going for FGs when they had the ball in Michigan territory rather than trying to convert a 4th down. Their offense was actually moving the ball and they needed TDs not FGs.
We were definitely helped by these decisions - the second FG basically was conceding the game to us.
Was to wait for the (at the time) inevitable M turnover. They has to figure Gardner was good for 2 or 2 pics.
But in any case, their strategy was to stay in the game, within two scores. If they had gone on fourth down and missed, they would have had virtually no chance to come back.
I understand why it seems reasonable at the first decision point, to try to keep it close and hope for a break since historically this team has not been able to avoid a turnover, especially a painful turnover. Watching from the stands it just seemed that they had reasonable success moving the ball, and they were inside UM territory. I guess I'm basing this on a mixture of stats (all of the historical data about going for it on 4th down and close when inside the opponent's half the field) and the emotional tenor of the game. The final score doesn't really show how iffy the game was at times. When the UM got up 21-7 there was palpable relief but Minn came back down the field but ended up settling for the FG. I know it is a big if but had they gone for it a 21-14 game may not have ended so well.
Anyway, happy for the win and hoping things go well next week in Happy Valley - PSU is probably going to up for that game.
were defensible either way, though I tend to agree that their last FG was a concession.
Instead of 3 TDs they needed 2 and 1 2-point conversion. Don't get a FG and they still need 3 scores.
The concession was their last punt with just over 7 minutes left. They needed to score, not play defense.
The 2nd FG was fine, they needed 3 scores.
The one near the end of Q3 though sent them from 14 to 11. Makes some sense if you actually have an offense, but with Minnesota taking forever to get downfield and having no pass attack, keeping it a 2-score game was a mistake.
in exchange for Pipkins staying healthy.
I was relieved he hobbled off the field held up by two players. I think if it were potentially more severe, there's no way they would have let him do that. He'd have been carted off. Might miss a few weeks, but probably not season-ending.
Takethefield: Care to give us some detailed analysis of how we almost gave this game away?
I didn't even get mad.
I know you're joking, but in general, you can't really get mad at a QB when he gets sacked. Sacks are rarely the QB's fault.
I'm beginning to think there are certain posters on this blog who are incapable of enjoying a nice win. Relax people.....
There's a certain subset of Michigan fans for whom a victory is simply a loss avoided.
The problem is not that the fans are "not happy" with the win.. The main issue we have had the past few weeks is dominance on the field with teams that we should have no problem scoring millions points on.
If we establish dominance and keep playing with it all along then we should do fine against good teams such as NW, OSU, Wisconsin and Nebraska.
I guess i am used the old school UM teams where OSU was our only threat the whole season, maybe Wiscy here an there.. But the past few yeas a lot of teams have broken our hearts, and i want to see UofM be dominant again, and the only team to decide our fate is OSU..
I don't understand why people think this ever will. Parity has happened. A big part of the dominance was due to "haves" and "have nots." That's largely changed, especially in the Big Ten, with recruiting. OSU cheats, so they've managed to put together a long streak of nice seasons, but even they were 6-6 not long ago.
We'll be really good in the near future, but the "good ol' days" are little more than legend now.
Also, "winning pretty" is overrated. It's the worst. 2006 opened with a struggle against Ball State. We had a scare against Iowa in 1997. That's just two examples.
I think OSU still has that "dominance" and they still recruiting just as good, fortunate for them, their high schools produce a lot of good players, who grow up as osu fans, and unfortunatly for us, RR drove us into the ground with a system that never worked...I think that there is still a great possibility where we become dominant again, but its gona take some time, we just need to make the right moves and be a step ahead
Did you not read my comment? OSU does NOT have that dominance. They're just a really good team in a not-so-good conference. Wisconsin gives them a tough run most years now, and Northwestern probably should have beat them today. Again, they cheat and we know they cheat, so our goal is not to become like them.
Also, take your Rich Rod bitching and go to MLive. It's been three years and people still treat him like a Batman villain.
A good team in a shitty conference??duhhhhhh, when has big ten ever been good? We are just talking about big ten confernce arent we? Plus This conf has always been piss poor and always had two good teams UofM and OSU, and these two teams have alway doninated it for maaaaany years... Yes sure wiscy will show up once in awhile, and Iowa had its runs for a couple of years, but please tell me who is another team that you can say it has a legacy of dominance besides michigan and osu??
As far as RR, i am not bitching i was just trying to make point that during that etra while others got better ( MSU, Wisc, NorthWestern, Iowa) we drove ourself into the ground with poor recruiting and poor system..
has been gone but he is a major reason why we are struggling to run the ball. no depth at oline and many other positions, awful job creating depth and it shows and is the reason why it will be another year or two before we can judge Hoke, we have very little depth now and though this has been spoken about numerous times, it still is a problem.
But the double standard emerges yet again.
2006 opened with a struggle against Ball State.
That game actually was the 10th game of the season, which is even more shocking - our team had already clearly gelled by then.
UofM better play better next week vs Penn State or they could loss. I don't know about you but Derrick Green looks slow as hell. I don't understand how he's better than Rawls and Hayes. I'm not impressed with Green he needs to lose some weight so he can get some speed back. I think his ideal weight needs to be 220 lbs. Hopefully UofM is undefeated when they play OHIO on 30 Nov. Hail Go Blue!!!
"slow as hell" is a little bit of an exaggeration especially when you mention Rawls as a comparison in the next sentence. Thomas had his opportunities in the past and it didn't work. Green has some room for improvment, no doubt, but he's a freshman running behind a line that is struggling.
Game so far... Go Blue! All the changes looked effective and Derrick Green will only get better.
Forgive me if I missed this in some earlier thread but is Derrick Green basically the number 2 back after Ftiz? Just curious because Rawls seems to run hard everytime he plays but he seems hardly ever on the field. ? Other assignment reasons?
Running hard and running effectively are not the same.