Jesse Johnson - USA Today Images

Michigan Game Review: Second Half

GopherDigest takes a look at plays that changed the game in this review of the Gophers vs. Wolverines second half, with GIF's.

3rd quarter

Peppers does it again

Michigan do it all athlete Jabrill Peppers had six touches for 100 yards and a touchdown against Minnesota and constantly made life difficult for the Gophers. On the play on 1st and goal, Peppers takes the snap out of the Wildcat and gets some help on the edge to head in for the touchdown, putting the Wolverines back in front, 21-16. 

Wheel routes are undefeated

One of my favorite plays is to hit the running back on the wheel route out of the backfield and and can see why above. RB Shannon Brooks is matched up with a Michigan LB and Brooks has too much speed and turns the corner easily and QB Mitch Leidner throws a perfect ball on target and in stride to Brooks for the 40 yard gain. 

Leidner has his burst back

I think QB Mitch Leidner is going to be as close to 100% as possible coming out of the bye and that's evident by his burst here out of the read option for the touchdown. Leidner sucks in both the defensive end and linebacker with the play fake to Smith and turns on the jets for the 24 yard touchdown. Great read by Leidner and awesome kick out block by WR Wolitarsky at the bottom of the screen to spring Leidner for the score. 

Rudock takes a big hit from the Gophers D

Rudock probably should have slid in hindsight after scrambling here on first down, but he is pinballed by LB Jack Lynn into DT Andrew Stelter for the knock out. You can see Rudock's neck is contorted in an uncomfortable fashion and did not return following this play. A play that was 100% legal with no malintent.

4th quarter

Lingen with another doozy of a catch

Loved the play design here from Matt Limegrover. Lingen motions across the formation and is untouched through the second level as the Michigan LB bites on the play action to Rodney Smith. Leidner makes the pass down the seam to his tight end for the 23 yard connection. Great play design and execution from the Gophers here.

Michigan goes back in front off a missed opportunity

Missed assignments can't happen in this situation and that's what looks to have happened here late in the 4th. You can see how visibly upset CB Boddy-Calhoun was after this play and it looks the Gophers were either in Cover 3 or 4, but either way, safety Kunle Ayinde should have been where that play was standing. Boddy abandoned his zone once he saw that Chesson was running free and Ayinde can't have that happen. You'll see he ends up right next to fellow safety Antonio Johnson leaving his side of the field wide open for the easy score. 

Smith with a heady play late in the 4th

Love having Rodney Smith on the team. With things looking bleak for Minnesota on a 3rd and 17 late in the 4th, Smith bails the Gophers out with his elusiveness and decision to go north and south. Smith gets the screen pass and eludes two Michigan defenders who collapse on him, gets to the open field and instead of going horizontal, plants his foot in the ground, takes the contact and gets Minnesota the first down. 

KJ Maye holds on

Hell of a play by KJ Maye here to hold on to the ball, extending the Gophers drive on a fourth down. Michigan brings pressure and Leidner delivers a strike to KJ Maye who hangs on getting the first down. All the hand strength there to secure the catch through the ground giving Minnesota life again. 

What almost was for Wolitarsky

What almost was for Minnesota. Leidner motions Wolitarsky across the formation and both Leidner and Wolitarsky sell the stop and go. Wolitarsky burns the Michigan corner and Leidner sells the pump fake and both connect on what originally called a go-ahead touchdown for the Golden Gophers with 19 seconds left. Great execution by the offensive line to give Leidner the time as well. 

The 12 seconds heard around the world

Now time for the most infuriating 12 seconds of Gopher football in the last decade. You'll see the referee start the clock and six seconds run off the clock before Leidner checks back into shotgun. Four shifts and then a motion run the clock down some more and Ben Lauer can't block the Michigan defensive lineman forcing the Leidner incompletion. Here's another thing you'll notice. Watch a sprinting Jim Harbaugh at the top of the screen trying to call a timeout. What could have been....

Leidner can't sneak it in. Ball game

With two seconds left, the Gophers go for the win on the quarterback sneak from the half yard line and don't get it. I have no qualms about going for the win here as if you can't get a half yard, then you shouldn't win, but I'd REALLY like more than one rushing attempt with 19 seconds left and a time out instead of the play previously. Either way, Minnesota loses a great game at home 29-26.

Gopher Illustrated Top Stories