2011 Michigan Wolverines Football
Michigan Wolverines vs Minnesota Golden Gophers Football Recap
Michigan 58, Minnesota 0
Are the Michigan Wolverines the second-best team in the Big Ten this season? They didn’t beat a formidable foe this past weekend, but then again, they applied a major-league smackdown to a bad team, lending more credence to the notion that they can at least contend for a conference title.
The Michigan Wolverines destroyed the struggling Minnesota Golden Gophers in their Big Ten opener Saturday at Michigan Stadium to improve to 5-0. It was Minnesota’s worst shutout loss since a 58-0 loss to Colorado in 1991.
Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson had his best passing game of the season, completing 15 of 19 passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns. For the first time this season, Robinson did not throw an interception. Running back Vincent Smith ran for a touchdown, threw a touchdown pass, and caught a touchdown pass, becoming the first player to achieve the feat since C.J. Spiller of Clemson in 2009.
Freshman Max Shortell started his first career game for Minnesota in place of MarQueis Gray, who has a toe injury. Shortell completed 11 of 22 passes for 104 yards, a reflection of his limitations, but also a revealer of the impotence of the Gophers’ offense as a whole. Shortell saw meaningful playing time in a season-opening loss at USC, so it’s not as though he was entering this game cold turkey, without any gameday reps to his credit this season. Yet, Shortell couldn’t generate any momentum or establish any rhythm on offense, joining the parade of futility that has characterized this disastrous season in the Great North. Minnesota was 0-for-11 on third down, a fact that is considerably damning in and of itself. The fact that Minnesota pulled off that dubious bagel against a weak Michigan defense makes the feat that much harder to digest. It’s true that Michigan’s defense is playing a lot better than it did in the first few weeks of the season, but the fact remains that Michigan can certainly be exploited, especially in an injury-affected secondary and in a less-than-powerful front four. However, Minnesota didn’t own a single weapon which could strike fear into the Wolverines’ defensive eleven. It’s really rather amazing to contemplate.
The Wolverines outgained the Gophers 384-69 in the first half. Michigan led 38-0 at halftime. To further illustrate the one-sided nature of this contest, Minnesota didn’t run a play from Michigan territory until late in the third quarter. Considering the fact that Michigan gave up more than 500 total yards against Notre Dame in week two, such a fact is remarkable at a lofty level.
Fitzgerald Toussaint ran for a career-high 108 yards for Michigan. Junior Hemingway led the Wolverines with 56 yards on five receptions. Smith, Kevin Koger, and Drew Dileo caught touchdown passes for Michigan. Smith, Robinson, and Toussant had rushing touchdowns for the Wolverines. Michigan kicker Brendan Gibbons even joined the fun in this romp - he connected on all three field goal attempts for the Maize and Blue. Just to put the cherry on the sundae, Michigan scored its final touchdown of the game when Courtney Avery returned a fumble 83 yards with 4:58 left in the fourth quarter.
By: Matt Zemek