‘The Drive’

Minnesota executed a two-minute drive to end the first half at Michigan that changed the feel of the game.

Jack Satzinger

It took 12 plays, spanned two minutes and 17 seconds, covered 92 yards, resulted in three points and took sophisticated play-calling that the Gophers offense has rarely executed this season.

But when Gophers head coach Jerry Kill recounted Minnesota’s final first-half possession in its 30-14 victory at Michigan on Saturday, he simply called the sequence “The Drive.”

After the Wolverines downed a 53-yard Will Hagerup punt, Minnesota started with the ball on its own 1-yard line with the score tied 7-7.

That kind of poor field position is enough to make any coach feel uneasy.

“I said, ‘We just want to get out of here,’” Kill said.

Play 1: Redshirt sophomore quarterback Mitch Leidner handed the ball off to senior running back David Cobb, who ran between the tackles for just 1 yard.

Play 2: The next play, Cobb ran the ball again but broke a tackle to gain 4 yards.

Play 3: After a Michigan timeout, Leidner faked a handoff to Cobb and passed to junior tight end Lincoln Plsek near the right sideline for a 21-yard completion. Minnesota found itself at the 27-yard line with ample breathing room.

Play 4: The Gophers gave the ball to Cobb again, who broke a tackle running to the right side of the field for another 14 yards.

Play 5: With the clock winding down, Leidner tried to hit Plsek for a short sideline pass, but it was incomplete and stopped the clock.

Play 6: With nearly every member of the announced crowd of 102,926 expecting the Gophers to pass to conserve time, Leidner handed the ball off to Cobb again — bursting up the middle for eight yards.

Play 7: On the next play — a third down — Leidner faked a handoff to Cobb, rolled out to the right and hit redshirt sophomore tight end Maxx Williams for 10 yards.

Play 8: Leidner dropped back to pass again, but nobody was open, and he slid after running for three yards.

Play 9: Leidner dropped back again, and Cobb blocked for a few counts but then released and caught a pass — good for 11 yards.

Play 10: Leidner spiked the ball, stopping the clock with 16 seconds left in the half.

Play 11: With only one timeout remaining, the Gophers surprisingly ran the ball again and kept the clock running. Cobb didn’t make Kill regret the decision, breaking up field amid diving Wolverines. Once he hit the next level, Cobb pushed up to the 7-yard line before four defenders brought him down. 

Play 12: Redshirt freshman kicker Ryan Santoso hit a 24-yard field goal as time expired to give Minnesota a 10-7 lead heading into halftime.