Quick Hitters: Minnesota vs. Michigan

by Grant Donald

Recap: The Gophers featured a more balanced attack Saturday en route to a 30-14 victory over Michigan, winning the Little Brown Jug for just the third time in 30 years. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Mitch Leidner returned to the starting role after missing last week’s game with turf toe and a left knee injury.

Leidner put together a solid performance, throwing for 167 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for one touchdown.

Senior running back David Cobb added 183 yards to his season total and is now third in the nation in rushing yards. Cobb also had 50 yards receiving on the day.

Minnesota’s defense shut down Michigan for most of the day, forcing two turnovers and holding the Wolverines to 171 total yards.

It was over when: Redshirt junior linebacker De’Vondre Campbell returned an interception for a touchdown to give the Gophers a 20-7 lead midway through the third quarter. Minnesota captured all the momentum and never looked back.

Key Play: Leidner hit junior tight end Lincoln Plsek for a 21-yard gain on third-and-5 from the Gophers 6-yard line near the end of the first half. The completion kept the drive alive and set the tone for the rest of the possession, which resulted in a field goal and Minnesota’s first lead.

Five Observations

1. The Gophers can run the ball with the big boys. Minnesota proved it can run the ball effectively during the nonconference schedule, and after racking up 206 yards on the ground Saturday, it reassured people that it could do the same in the Big Ten.

2. Leidner brought balance to the offense. A week after the Gophers had 373 more rushing yards than passing yards, Leidner returned and so did a more balanced attack. Minnesota only had 39 more rushing yards than passing Saturday.

3. Minnesota’s defense is legitimate. After they held Michigan to 171 total yards, forced two turnovers and contained wide receiver Devin Funchess, it’s safe to say the Gophers have an elite defense.

4. With the victory, head coach Jerry Kill has gained some closure. After missing last year’s game at Michigan due to epileptic seizures and feeling like he “let a lot of people down,” Kill looked relieved after this year’s victory.

5. Minnesota won a rivalry game on the road. After going nine years without a road rivalry win, it is a good sign for the program that the team can go into hostile territory and win.

Quote of the game: “Words can’t describe how it felt watching all my teammates go over and grab the Jug. It’s a team win; I’m proud to be a Minnesota Golden Gopher.” – Cameron Botticelli, redshirt senior defensive lineman

Tweet of the game: “Just wanna take this time to thank Lee Corso of âĪ@CollegeGameDay for picking us to win today! Lee knows best haha Go Gophers!!” –@DCobb27

Up next: Minnesota has a bye week next week and will return to play Oct. 11 against Northwestern. The Wildcats are 2-2 on the season and have struggled, but they did beat Penn State 29-6 on Saturday.