MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- The Michigan defensive line looked prepared for the quarterback sneak, like they just knew deep down it was coming. Knocking back Mitch Leidner almost a yard to seal the 29-26 victory over Minnesota Saturday night, the Wolverines secured the Little Brown Jug for another year.
The defensive line was prepared because defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin to be aware of it during the week, according to defensive tackle Maurice Hurst.
No matter how you spin it, though, Hurst felt the sneak was disrespectful to his line.
"We were prepared before it, before the game even started," Hurst said. "Coach Durkin was telling us that they run a lot of sneak, we watched plays. Coach Mattison told us to be ready for sneak and that's kind of disrespect to the defensive line to run sneak because they're expecting to get us knockback. We just talked to each other, we know it was down to us, it's us. Three inside guys, four guys, 11, we just came out and knew we had to get off the ball, get off the field and get the win."
As soon as the ball was snapped, the defensive line knew it got the job done. Knowing that Minnesota couldn't bait them into a hard count, jumping the snap was very important in this case.
"Yeah, we had a good idea (he was short of the goal line)," Hurst said. "We jumped the snap, we knew they weren't going to hard count us so we had a pretty good advantage."
The game didn't have to be saved on the goal line and Hurst, including the rest of the U-M defense, knows that. U-M head coach Jim Harbaugh said this game was a learning experience from the redshirt freshman all the way to the experienced seniors. Despite some letdowns on the defensive side of the football, Hurst knows that his side of the football needs to play better to continue to be successful this season.
"It's a huge learning experience from a defensive standpoint," Hurst said. "We let up a lot of big plays and those are things that just can't happen in the game. We were stopping them on first and second down, I thought we stopped the run for the most part and we were just letting up a lot of third down conversions which is something we're not used to and is something we need to correct."