Minnesota Instant Analysis

The drives of the first half today, ending in a 10-7 halftime Gopher lead.

First Quarter

On the second offensive play of the game, Minnesota running back David Cobb rattled off a 34-yard run to quickly move the Gophers into Michigan territory. After successfully converting a 4th down later in the drive, Minnesota was unable to accomplish much else, resulting in a punt.

Michigan, however, was equally out of sorts on its first possession. With sophomore quarterback Shane Morris at the helm, a drop from wide receiver Devin Funchess, one that would have given the Wolverines a first down, plagued Michigan’s first drive. Michigan punted the football away.

After two more unsuccessful drive, one by Minnesota and another by Michigan, the Wolverines punted the football back to the Gophers’ with around four minutes left in the quarter. The Gophers’ punt return specialist, Marcus Jones, muffed the Will Hagerup punt, but ultimately recovered the fumble as the Wolverines’ coverage team was out of range. This error proved meaningless thanks to a Frank Clark sack on third down that halted an opportunistic Minnesota offense.

Second Quarter

With Minnesota backed up at the 10-yard line to begin the 2nd quarter, a 2-yard loss on first down handcuffed the Gophers’ offense, one that was unable to move past their own 12-yard line.

Minnesota subsequently fired off their 4th punt of the day, one the allowed Michigan to begin its drive at the Gophers’ 47. Relying on a heavy dose of the running attack in the 1st half, DeVeon Smith picked up 28 yards to place the Wolverines well within the red zone at the 12-yard line. This marked Michigan’s first appearance in the red zone against a power 5 conference all season. Two plays later, Smith finished off the drive with a 10-yard touchdown run, giving Michigan a 7-0 lead with 11:10 remaining in the second half. DeVeon Smith picked up all 47 yards of offense for Michigan on the drive.

In response to Michigan’s scoring drive, Minnesota quickly dialed up an explosive play of its own with a 39-yard pass to running back David Cobb, setting up Minnesota for its first red zone appearance of the day. On 3rd and 1, Gophers QB Mitch Leidner fooled with a play-action rollout that went for a 10-yard touchdown. Minnesota knotted the score up at seven apiece with 8 minutes remaining in the half.

Starting the final drive of the half with 2:17 remaining, Minnesota called two well-timed play-action passes to the tight end, both of which were pretty wide open. Sprinkled in with a few David Cobb runs (8 and 14 yards apiece), Minnesota found itself at the Michigan 38-yard line with 23 seconds remaining in the half and a chance to take the lead. Liedner then found Cobb in the passing game again, hitting the senior running back for a 9-yard gain. Cobb then received a handoff that went 20 yards, positioning Minnesota in prime field goal range with six seconds left from the 7-yard line, which it converted, providing the Gophers with a 10-7 lead heading into the second half.

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