There were plenty of explanations for why Michigan threw a 40-yard touchdown bomb with 30 seconds left in the Wolverines’ 44-10 thrashing of Minnesota on Saturday.
Some people said Coach Lloyd Carr was simply running up the score. Others suspected he was trying to impress the pollsters. Carr, however, was one of the only people who didn’t have much of an explanation.
“I’m sorry that we scored, but we have a lot of young guys who haven’t had an opportunity to play this year,” Carr said. “I don’t think 44-10 is running up the score — I really don’t care about the polls. But I’m not going to put kids into the game, with eight or nine (Gophers) along the line of scrimmage, and not play them. I did not intend to score, and I feel badly that I did.
“At the same time, I have an obligation to our young guys. And that’s all I can say.”
The play upset many of the Gophers, including Coach Jim Wacker. Wacker went out to midfield to shake hands with Carr after the game, but that’s where the pleasantries ended.
“I was disappointed in the call, and Lloyd apologized for it, but we’ve got to be good enough not to let it happen,” Wacker said. “But you don’t do that. You don’t rub our noses in it — that’s not much class. I told all our underclassmen to remember that. Remember that one. They can have their fun today, but watch out tomorrow.”
Minnesota safety Rishon Early was among the players who were bothered by the play.
“We don’t think they showed us any respect,” Gophers safety Rishon Early said. “I’m not sure if they were trying to run the score up, but you and I know things like that aren’t necessary. That’s not a class act.”
Kratochvil gets a scare
Gophers tight end Paul Kratochvil was carted away from the field with a rapid heartbeat in the third quarter, but Minnesota trainer Doug Locy said the senior was OK on Sunday.
The quick heartbeat came from an episode of tachycardia, Locy said, and Saturday was the first time in about 18 months Kratochvil has had a problem with the condition.
“You don’t know why (the episodes) come,” Locy said. “Sometimes they just come. But he’ll be fine. He’s fine today.”
Locy said the Gophers medical staff had a hard time getting the quick heartbeat to slow down. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that team doctor Richard Feist got it to stop.
The Gophers’ other notable health concern came from left tackle Luke Herkenhoff, who Locy said suffered a tendon strain in his left foot. He is undergoing further testing and is considered questionable for Saturday’s game at Ohio State.
First quarter dominance
The Wolverines extended a pair of impressive streaks at the end of the first quarter Saturday, but Minnesota came close to ending both of them.
By holding the Gophers scoreless in the opening 15 minutes, the Wolverines kept Minnesota from becoming the first team to score against them in the first quarter all year. Michigan has not allowed a first-quarter touchdown since playing Purdue in 1994.
Minnesota receiver Ryan Thelwell nearly snapped both streaks on a 58-yard reception that got the team to Michigan’s 19-yard line. But the Gophers ended up with no points after kicker Adam Bailey missed a 38-yard field goal.