Halftime Report: Gophers trail Michigan 14-7

Jack Satzinger

Three plays into his first career Big Ten start, quarterback Mitch Leidner showed his inexperience. Trying to scramble, Leidner fumbled the ball after being hit and Michigan recovered. The Wolverines took over and scored easily in six plays — all runs. 

Down 7-0 on the road in front of more than 100,000 fans, young Leidner could have crumbled. It happened two years ago when back-up quarterback Max Shortell started at Michigan Stadium and the Gophers lost 58-0. This time, Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill is not at the game after he suffered a seizure Saturday morning.

Without his coach and in a hostile homecoming environment, Leidner didn't give in: he orchestrated a 16-play, 75-yard drive that ended in a touchdown. 

The grind-it-out sequence featured four Leidner rushes amounting to more than 40 yards. It was capped off by a jump ball touchdown pass to tight end Maxx Williams. 

After a quick scoring start, the game slowed down and has become somewhat of a defensive struggle. Two punts, one by each team, pinned the other inside of its own five-yard line. The Gophers' offense wasn't able to advance the ball much after Michigan's great punt, giving the Wolverines the ball back with great field position. Michigan took advantage, scoring with a 24-yard pass from Devin Gardner to Devin Funchess. 

Minnesota's defense has contained Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner, who was once thought of as a Heisman trophy candidate. Coming into the game, he had 301 rushing yards on the year over four games. He has negative two yards rushing at the half after a Cameron Botticelli sack. 

Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota issues statement
In response to Coach Kill's seizure earlier today, the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota issued a statement:

"The difficult reality is that epilepsy is a complex neurological disorder; getting and maintaining seizure control can be difficult and can change over time. The Foundation supports Coach Kill and his family, as well as the 60,000 people and their families in MN and ND who live with epilepsy. The challenges that seizures present are all too familiar for many families dealing with epilepsy." — Executive Director Vicki Kopplin