Gophers humiliated in 58-0 loss at Michigan

MarQueis Gray did not start due to his toe injury, just one of a myriad of events that did not go Minnesota’s way.

Michigan head coach Brady Hoke and Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill greet each other on the field before kick off Saturday in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Mark Vancleave

Michigan head coach Brady Hoke and Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill greet each other on the field before kick off Saturday in Ann Arbor, Mich.

by Adam Richard

MarQueis Gray was unable to start Saturday, just one of a flood of disappointments for Minnesota in a 58-0 blanking in Michigan.

True freshman quarterback Max Shortell started in his place and failed to lead the offense to a single point.

Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill returned to the sidelines after another lapse in the hospital, but his Big Ten debut was spoiled by the Wolverines.

Michigan drove down the field at will and never let up on the gas pedal.  The Wolverines opened the game with a drive of 80 yards to take an early 7-0 lead.  

Denard Robinson ran for 51 yards and a touchdown, passed for 169 yards and two touchdowns, in limited action. He was benched in the third quarter with the game already well out of reach.

When he wasnâÄôt using his arms or legs, he was an amazing decoy, drawing the GophersâÄô defense toward him so that his teammates were able to rush down the field for big gains.  

Robinson began the day with 11 straight completions that forced Minnesota to keep its pass coverage back, which allowed Robinson and the entire Michigan rushing offense to take advantage of his scrambling ability.  

Shortell completed his first pass, while Gray looked on from the sidelines in sweats.

Gray dealt with a toe injury and missed WednesdayâÄôs practice. He warmed up with the team, but ultimately could not play.

Minnesota was ineffective in the running game and didnâÄôt pick up a first down in the first two possessions of the game.

Michigan put up four touchdowns with its first four drives and climbed to a 28-0 lead.

Michigan ran option plays, draw plays, halfback pass plays and stunts that all were effective in keeping the GophersâÄô defense off balance.  Michigan running back Vincent Smith was the beneficiary of these variant plays, as he passed, rushed and received a touchdown in the first half alone.

Shortell was 5-for-7 passing with 43 yards, but was sacked three times and hit hard on numerous other plays.  

The GophersâÄô running game was shut down throughout the first half, only gaining 25 yards on 14 attempts.

Minnesota was moving down the field with less than five minutes remaining in the half, but a Brandon Green fumble and Michigan recovery put an end to MinnesotaâÄôs hope to avoid a first half shutout.  The Gophers finished the first half with 69 total yards and no third down conversions.

The score ran up to 38-0 at halftime, with Michigan at picking up 21 first downs and 384 yards of total offense.   

Minnesota used the game as a learning opportunity for young Shortell and the rest of the Gophers.

Freshman running back David Cobb got some action for the second straight week, playing much of the second half and getting some valuable experience in Big Ten play.  

Cobb finished the day with 54 yards on 6.8 yards per carry.  Freshman LaMonte Edwards got his first tackle as a linebacker, and freshman Devin Crawford-Tufts got his first catch of the year.  

Minnesota had an opportunity to score with 1:30 left in the third quarter when freshman wide receiver Marcus Jones ran a kickoff 96 yards for a would-be touchdown, however it was negated by a holding penalty on Eric Lair.

Late in the fourth quarter, Cobb fumbled in the red zone, eliminating MinnesotaâÄôs best chance to score and Michigan returned the fumble for 83 yards and a touchdown, which set the final score.

When Robinson was benched with 6:21 left in the third quarter, sophomore quarterback Devin Gardner played the rest of the game.  

With Gardner in, along with other Michigan freshman, the GophersâÄô defense was still unable to stop Michigan and it continued to pile on yardage and points.  

Minnesota was completely inept on defense. Six different Michigan rushers averaged more than five yards per carry. The GophersâÄô defense allowed a total of 315 rushing yards, 217 passing yards and three field goals and seven touchdowns.

MinnesotaâÄôs offense was not much better.  It only accumulated 177 total yards, and punted ten times while turning the ball over twice.