The Michigan Wolverines are still one win from bowl eligibility following a 38-36 loss to the Purdue Boilermakers on Saturday afternoon at Michigan Stadium. Now, as the Wolverines look toward Wisconsin to try and notch win number six, a quick look back at the good, the bad and the ugly in the loss to Purdue yesterday afternoon.
It's no secret that Brandon Minor has battled a high-ankle sprain that's sidelined the talented senior running back for much of the season. Had Minor been healthy all season, the Wolverines would likely have already claimed bowl eligibility. It didn't work out that way, though, and Michigan is still one win short.
Against Purdue on Saturday, however, Minor looked as good as he's looked all season. Despite the Wolverines two point loss, Minor carried the ball 19 times for 154 yards and three touchdowns. He also set a new career long when he exploded for a 55-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter. With games remaining against just Wisconsin and Ohio State, Michigan needs a similar effort from Minor each of the next two weeks to have its best shot at claiming that elusive sixth win.
The former Purdue commitment set new career highs when he hauled in 10 passes for 126 yards and a score on Saturday. Most of his damage coming out of the slot, Roundtree exploited a safety in man-to-man coverage for much of the game. In the second half the Wolverines moved away from Roundtree, and the Boilermakers held Michigan to just six points in the second half. Roundtree started for Martavious Odoms, and looks to play a major role in the offense until the slot receiver from Florida returns to the field.
The Wolverines sophomore linebacker saw his most significant action of the season on Saturday. He made the most of it by tying for the team lead with two tackles for a loss. Just how much more time Fitzgerald will get remains to be seen, but it was a step in the right direction for the sophomore from New Jersey.
Kicking has been good for Wolverines for much of the season. Heck, it started good Saturday with Olesnavage connecting on a new career long from 51-yards in the first quarter. In the end, though, it was a missed field goal from 42-yards out and a missed extra point that doomed the Wolverines on Saturday. Olesnavage will bounce back and the Wolverines kicking game will return to form next week.
Despite Purdue passing the ball 38 times, the Wolverines were able to sack Joey Elliott just one time over the course of Saturday's game. Wisconsin will use a steady dose of the power run game so the pass rush won't be as important on Saturday, but, when Ohio State comes to Ann Arbor in two weeks, it will be absolutely imperative to get more pressure on the quarterback if Michigan hopes to pick up a win.
The 3rd Quarter
Yet again the third quarter doomed the Wolverines. It seems an eternity ago that the team struggled through the first half before adjustments at the half allowed Michigan put games out of reach. Against Purdue, the halftime break did just the opposite. Up a pair of scores, the Wolverines whithered away in the third quarter as Purdue surged into the lead. It was the second consecutive week the Wolverines blew a lead at the break, a trend that must end for Michigan to become bowl eligible.
One Day Later: Purdue
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