Michigan drops B1G opener, loses Little Brown Jug

After a bad loss last week at home against Utah that including a long rain delay, the Michigan Wolverines faced a slew of questions. Is Devin Gardner the right quarterback for the job? Should Shane Morris take over? Is Brady Hoke’s job on the line? Those questions had to be answered quickly as B1G play started at The Big House against the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

Michigan went with the sophomore Morris over the 5th year senior Gardner and the Wolverines offense wasn’t much better under Morris than with Gardner. Morris started off 2/5 for 18 yards and he looked very inaccurate and rattled. After a scoreless 1st quarter, Michigan went with the ground game.

On their 2nd possession of the 2nd quarter, Michigan went 47 yards on 4 plays in 2:03 for a touchdown. All 4 plays and all 47 yards were by running back De’Veon Smith. Smith had a 28 yard run on 2nd and 3 from the Minnesota 40 and 2 plays later bull dozed his way into the end zone from 10 yards away for a 7-0 lead for the Wolverines. It was Michigan’s first offensive touchdown against an opponent from a Power 5 conference this season.

Minnesota would answer with a 9 play 32 yard drive that included a 33 yard short catch and run by David Cobb and was capped off by a quarterback run for a touchdown by Mitch Leidner as the Gophers tied it at 7. After a Michigan 3-and-out, Leidner led Minnesota on a 12 play 92 yard drive in the final 2:17 to get the Gophers into field goal range and Ryan Santoso knocked in a 24 yard field goal to give Minnesota a 10-7 lead at the half. Michigan went in to the locker room to a smattering of boos.

In the 3rd, Michigan went 3-and-out on their first possession and after the defense forced a 3-and-out, the Wolverines had to start at their own 7 yard line. Morris dropped back and fumbled in the end zone, but picked it back up and escaped back in to the field of play. Michigan would also go 3-and-out on the drive and Morris came up limping. Minnesota would take the ball and would kick another field goal by Santoso for a 13-7 Gophers lead.

On Michigan’s next possession, Morris’ pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage and was intercepted by linebacker De’Vondre Campbell for 30 yards and a touchdown. Minnesota was up 20-7 and the Michigan faithful were stunned. Things continued to get worse for Michigan on the next possession as Morris fumbled and Minnesota’s Theiren Cockran recovered at Michigan’s 30 yard line. The Gophers took advantage as Leidner flipped it to Maxx Williams for a 1 yard touchdown and a 27-7 lead for Minnesota in the 3rd quarter and the fans head for the exits, booing as they head out. Minnesota turned that into another Santoso field goal for a 30-7 lead.

Morris, still feeling the effects of what happened in the 3rd quarter, couldn’t push off his left leg and he could barely walk. However, Hoke kept him in the game until finally Gardner came in to the game to relieve Morris after he was hit by Cockran and was possibly concussed. It was horrible player management by Hoke and it was really embarrassing for Hoke and the Michigan program.

Gardner came in and led Michigan to a touchdown as he ran in from the 3 after he completed a few passes to Devin Funchess and Jehu Chesson. Michigan was within 30-14 with 7:27 left.

Minnesota would go on to win 30-14 and drop Michigan to 2-3 and 0-1 in B1G play. Morris was 7/19 for 49 yards and the pick six and Gardner was 3/6 for 39 yards and he ran in for a touchdown. Smith had 10 carries for 57 yards and a score. It was Michigan’s first loss to Minnesota since 2008 and the Gophers stormed Michigan’s sideline to reclaim the Little Brown Jug.

The Michigan program is in shambles, it’s beginning to just get laughable. What happened to Michigan football? The alumni are getting restless and Braylon Edwards and Desmond Howard have taken jabs at Hoke and the Michigan program. Leaving Morris in the game for that long after he clearly couldn’t play was inexcusable. Gardner played well and the QB controversy in Ann Arbor just got interesting again. Michigan heads to Rutgers next Saturday.

-Ky Carlin

Twitter: @gettinbuckets91/@Ky_Carlin


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