Oct. 5, 2013
Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Michigan Stadium)
Score: #19 Michigan 42, Minnesota 13
Records: U-M (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten), MINN (4-2, 0-2 Big Ten)
Next U-M Game: Saturday, Oct. 12 -- at Penn State (State College, Pa.), 5 p.m.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Senior/junior quarterback Devin Gardner (Detroit, Mich./Inkster) threw for 235 yards and two touchdowns, while sophomore tight end Devin Funchess (Farmington Hills, Mich./Harrison) set career highs in receptions (seven) and yards (151) to lead the University of Michigan football team (No. 19 AP/No. 17 USA Today) to a 42-13 victory over Minnesota on Saturday (Oct. 5) inside Michigan Stadium to retain the Little Brown Jug. With the win, the Wolverines have won 31 of their last 32 Big Ten openers dating back to 1982.
Fifth-year senior running back Fitzgerald Toussaint (Youngstown, Ohio/Liberty) rushed 17 times for 78 yards and two scores. Junior linebacker Desmond Morgan (Holland, Mich./West Ottawa) produced 10 tackles, while sophomore linebacker James Ross III (Orchard Lake, Mich./St. Mary's Prep) contributed nine.
Michigan won the toss, deferred to the second half and caused a turnover on the first Minnesota possession, as senior Jibreel Black (Cincinnati, Ohio/Wyoming) forced a fumble that was recovered by Ross III at Minnesota's 35-yard line. The offense ran the ball six consecutive times, culminating with an eight-yard touchdown scamper by Toussaint.
The Golden Gophers answered quickly, however, engineering a 16-play, 75-yard drive to knot up the score at 7-7 with 52 seconds left in the first quarter. Minnesota converted on all five third-down opportunities during the drive, which ended with a seven-yard touchdown pass from Mitch Leidner to Maxx Williams.
The second quarter was dominated by special teams. After Minnesota downed a punt at Michigan's own two-yard line, the Wolverines moved the ball down the field slightly before answering with a field-position play of their own, as junior Matt Wile (San Diego, Calif./Francis Parker) booted a punt that was touched dead at the Golden Gophers' one-yard line. The Michigan defense forced a stop and took over the next drive at the Minnesota 38-yard line, setting the offense up with short field. Facing a third-and-14 from the 24-yard line and only 1:31 left on the clock before halftime, Gardner fired a touchdown pass to Funchess to put Michigan up 14-7 heading into the break.
The Wolverines opened up a two-touchdown lead to start the second half, moving 75 yards in nine plays. The key play of the drive once again came on a third-and-long situation, as Gardner hooked up with Funchess for a 21-yard gain to the Minnesota two-yard line. After the call on the field was confirmed via replay, freshman Derrick Green (Richmond, Va./Hermitage) punched it in on the next play, putting Michigan up 21-7 with 10:08 left in the third quarter.
Minnesota then got three points back on a 44-yard field goal by Chris Hawthorne with 4:26 left in the third quarter, cutting the lead to 21-10.
Michigan answered that field goal, however, with a 12-yard TD run by Toussaint, his second of the afternoon. Gardner made three plays to keep the drive alive, including back-to-back completions -- to senior Drew Dileo (Greenwell Springs, La./Parkview Baptist) and fifth-year senior Jeremy Gallon (Apopka, Fla./Apopka) -- that totaled 42 yards. Three plays after Gallon's reception, on a third-and-five, Gardner scrambled for 13 yards to the 12-yard line, setting up Toussaint's touchdown run on the next play to make the score 28-10 as the third quarter drew to a close.
With 10:07 to play in the game, Minnesota once again cut into the lead, as Hawthorne booted another field goal, this time from 27 yards, making the score 28-13.
Michigan put the game out of reach with two fourth-quarter touchdowns, the first of which was a two-yard touchdown run by Gardner with 2:36 to play. The Wolverines were faced with two third-and-longs on the drive, but Gardner connected with Funchess on both of them, the last being a 46-yard bomb to the Minnesota four-yard line. Three plays later, Gardner faked a handoff and rolled out to the right for the two-yard touchdown, giving Michigan a 35-13 lead. Just 1:17 later, junior/sophomore Blake Countess (Owings Mills, Md./Our Lady Of Good Counsel) sealed the win with a pick-six, intercepting Leidner and returning it 72 yards for the touchdown, capping the scoring at 42-13.
Michigan is back on the field next Saturday (Oct. 12), facing Penn State in State College, Pa. Kickoff is at 5 p.m. on ESPN.
Contact: Justin Dickens, Zach Eisendrath (734) 763-4423