Nov. 3, 2012
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Site: Minneapolis, Minn. (TCF Bank Stadium)
Score: Michigan 35, Minnesota 13
Records: U-M (6-3, 4-1 Big Ten), MINN (5-4, 1-4 Big Ten)
Next U-M Game: Saturday, Nov. 10 -- vs. Northwestern (Michigan Stadium), Noon [ TV: ESPN ]
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- Behind a three-touchdown performance by junior quarterback Devin Gardner (Detroit, Mich./Inkster), the University of Michigan football team defeated the Minnesota Golden Gophers, 35-13, Saturday (Nov. 3) at TCF Bank Stadium to keep possession of the Little Brown Jug and gain bowl eligibility for the 42nd time in program history.
Gardner, who stepped in to replace injured senior quarterback Denard Robinson (Deerfield Beach, Fla./Deerfield Beach) as the starter, garnered career highs in passing yards (234), touchdowns (2) and completions (12), connecting on 67 percent of his passes to lead the Michigan offense. He also added 21 yards and a score on the ground.
Senior/junior running back Fitzgerald Toussaint (Youngstown, Ohio/Liberty) compiled 70 yards on 13 carries with a score. Senior/junior receiver Jeremy Gallon (Apopka, Fla./Apopka) had four receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown, while junior receiver Drew Dileo (Greenwell Springs, La./Parkview Baptist) added 69 yards on four catches with a score.
The Michigan defense held its opponent to 13 points or less for the sixth time this season. Fifth-year senior linebacker Kenny Demens (Oak Park, Mich./Detroit Country Day) amassed 10 tackles, including one tackle-for-loss. Junior/sophomore linebacker Jake Ryan (Westlake, Ohio/St. Ignatius) added nine tackles, three of which were for a loss.
The Golden Gophers received the ball to begin the game and moved down the field, but a blindside sack by fifth-year senior safety Jordan Kovacs (Curtice, Ohio/Clay) forced a punt shortly across midfield. Michigan took over deep in its own territory but was forced into a three-and-out.
The Wolverines defense stopped Minnesota on a fourth down near midfield to reclaim possession midway through the first quarter. However, two plays later the Golden Gophers picked off a pass at the 50-yard line. Minnesota gained one first down before punting.
Early in the second quarter, Minnesota capitalized on good field position from a short punt, marching 43 yards on six plays, ending with a 10-yard touchdown pass.
For the third time in the game, Michigan began a drive inside its own 20-yard line. Fueled by 23 rushing yards from sophomore running back Thomas Rawls (Flint, Mich./Flint Northern), the Wolverines reached Gophers territory. On a third-and-long, Gardner scrambled before connecting with Dileo on a 43-yard touchdown. The 91-yard scoring drive marked Michigan's longest of the season.
After forcing Minnesota to its third punt, the Wolverines went 90 yards before scoring on a two-yard run by Rawls with less than a minute left in the half to take a 14-7 lead. Gardner kept the drive alive on a third-down scramble for 19 yards to put the Maize and Blue into the red zone.
Minnesota failed on a 55-yard field goal attempt as time expired in the second quarter, during which Michigan outgained the Gophers, 183-49, and posted 11 first downs to Minnesota's three.
To begin the second half, the Wolverines went three-and-out. After picking up two first downs, Minnesota turned the ball over in the red zone after failing on a fake field goal attempt.
On the third play of the ensuing Michigan drive, Gardner connected with Gallon for a 47-yard pickup. With 5:05 left in the third quarter, Gardner found Gallon again for a 10-yard touchdown pass, extending the lead to 21-7.
The Golden Gophers responded and took the ball 69 yards on 13 plays, capping the drive with a 26-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter.
Gallon started the subsequent Michigan drive with a 12-yard dash for a first down. Fifth-year senior receiver Roy Roundtree (Trotwood, Ohio/Trotwood-Madison) also contributed with a 47-yard reception to the Minnesota three-yard line, leading to a two-yard bootleg touchdown run by Gardner to cap a 79-yard drive and give the Wolverines a 28-10 advantage with nine minutes remaining.
Minnesota received the ball after the score and marched 69 yards on 13 plays for the second consecutive possession, ending with a 19-yard field goal to make the score 28-13 with five minutes to go.
After the Gophers failed on an onside kick, Toussaint dashed 41 yards up the middle on a fourth-and-one for a touchdown, giving the Wolverines a 35-13 lead late.
On Minnesota's following possession, the Gophers fumbled and junior corner Courtney Avery (Mansfield, Ohio/Lexington) recovered to seal the Michigan victory.
The Wolverines return to Ann Arbor next Saturday (Nov. 10) to take on the Northwestern Wildcats in a Legends Division showdown, scheduled for noon on ESPN.
Contact: Justin Dickens (734) 763-4423