2011 Michigan Wolverines Football

Big Ten football fans

Michigan vs Minnesota Football Preview



The Michigan Wolverines are still a long way from being a finished product or a complete team. Yet, for a flawed football squad, the Maize and Blue are doing a pretty good job of establishing a winning edge. That edge isn’t likely to disappear from the landscape this weekend, in one of the Big Ten’s special trophy games.

There’s the Old Oaken Bucket, the Paul Bunyan Axe, Floyd of Rosedale, and then there’s the small drinking container fought for by the residents of the northern part of the Big Ten. The Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Michigan Wolverines kick off the conference schedule Saturday in Ann Arbor with their annual battle for the Little Brown Jug. Michigan has won 19 of the last 20 matchups between the two teams. The Wolverines are 4-0 for the third straight season after a 28-7 win over San Diego State last week. Opponents might be stumbling when they take on Michigan, but the Wolverines are taking advantage of other teams’ mistakes. They’re also displaying a level of resilience that was completely missing from the picture when previous coach Rich Rodriguez walked the sideline. New head coach Brady Hoke has immediately instilled a certain measure of toughness into his charges, and as long as that gritty persona remains for Michigan, the Wolverines should make the slow steady climb back to prominence in the college football world.

Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson hasn’t been a model of picture-perfect passing precision this season, but he’s still running wild and performing with swashbuckling style. Robinson was named the Big Ten offensive player of the week for the second time this season thanks to a 200-yard, three-touchdown performance on the ground against SDSU. Robinson has struggled in the passing game, though. The electrifying junior has thrown as many interceptions (six) as touchdown passes. He completed eight of 17 pass attempts for 93 yards last week.

Minnesota’s season has been disastrous thus far. The Gophers are 1-3 after losing 37-24 to FCS North Dakota State last Saturday in Minneapolis. Three weeks ago, Minnesota lost at home to New Mexico State, a program that has not posted a winning record since 2002.

Overshadowing their Gophers’ results on the field, however, are the health issues faced by head coach Jerry Kill, who suffered a seizure on the sideline late in the New Mexico State game. Kill returned for the next two games, but was stricken by another seizure on Sunday. He was admitted to the Mayo Clinic early in the week, but his staff expects him to return in time for Saturday’s game. Kill said he has suffered six seizures since the one that struck him during the NMSU game.


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By: Matt Zemek
DFN Sports Senior Staff Writer