Two weeks after losing in Happy Valley, Michigan looked like a changed team with Brandon Peters at the helm. The Wolverines picked up a 33-10 win over Minnesota in Ann Arbor on Saturday night.
Despite the one-hour delay due to inclement weather, the Wolverines’ offense didn’t skip a beat, which has to be music to Jim Harbaugh’s ears.
In fact, Michigan (7-2, 4-2 Big Ten East) rushed for 370 yards, led by Karan Higdon who had 200 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. Chris Evans added 191 yards and two scores on 13 touches.
Minnesota (4-5, 1-5 Big Ten West) was bottled up by the vaunted Michigan defense as well, totaling just 164 yards.
The Wolverines will travel to Maryland in Week 11 riding a two-game winning streak.
Michigan runs clock out
Alex Malzone checked in the game for the first time as Michigan's quarterback. Three rushes ran the clock out as Michigan earned its seventh victory on the year.
Minnesota tacks on field goal
Two plays that resulted in no gain set up a third-and-10 for Minnesota. Jonathan Femi-Cole then broke off a 21-yard run to the Michigan 46. Two plays later, Demry Croft found Tyler Johnson for 29 yards to the Michigan 21. The Gophers picked up another first down to get down to the Michigan 11-yard line. Croft scrambled and picked up six more yards down to the Michigan five but a false start on third down moved the Gophers back to the 10. They got that yardage back thanks to a Michigan offsides. Croft found Johnson in the end zone, but Tyree Kinnel's hit jarred the ball loose. Emmit Carpenter tacked on a 23-yard field goal, trimming Michigan's lead to 33-10.
Michigan records rare three-and-out
The Wolverines were bottled up for the first time all day as Chris Evans rushed twice for six yards and Brandon Peters tossed an incompletion. Minnesota would get the ball right back.
Gophers can't seem to gain footing on offense
Brad Robbins' 47-yard punt set up a first down for Minnesota at its own 16-yard line. No gain on first down forced Demry Croft to take to the air on second-and-long, getting the right end of a pass interference call against Tyree Kinnel. The Gophers would go no further, though, gaining just seven more yards before punting yet again.
Wolverines finally forced to punt
Donovan Peoples-Jones had another nice punt return to set Michigan up with strong field position at the Wolverines' 44-yard line. However, a false start moved them back to the 39. The Wolverines would lose yardage to set up a punt on fourth-and-17.
Minnesota, Michigan get chippy to end third
Minnesota began the drive at its own 23 with time winding down in the third quarter. Rodney Smith rushed for no gain on first down and Khaleke Hudson sacked Demry Croft on second. The Gophers gained a couple yards on a third-down run, but things got chippy after the play as Minnesota offensive lineman Donnell Greene was ejected for throwing a punch and Josh Metellus retaliated and was removed from the game as well. The third quarter ended right before a Minnesota punt.
Chris Evans breaks off another long TD run
After getting another penalty on a punt return, Michigan began the drive at their own 33. On the first play, Chris Evans scampered for a 67-yard touchdown run. The Wolverines would go for two but they failed as Evans was just short of the goal line. Michigan led 33-7.
Minnesota offense continues to struggle
After nearly coughing up the ball on the ensuing kickoff, Kobe McCrary recovered his own fumble at his own 15-yard line. Demry Croft completed a pass to Rodney Smith for a loss of four yards and then a terrific pass rush forced a throw out of bounds. On third down, Smith took a direct snap and lost three yards. Minnesota would punt with under two minutes left in the third.
Michigan extends lead on Higdon TD
Just like the last few drives, the Wolverines kept the ball on the ground, especially with a banged up Brandon Peters. Karan Higdon added a 15-yard rush to his total before Chris Evans added eight yards on two carries. Higdon then picked up a first down at the Gophers' 19. On third-and-6, Peters found Donovan Peoples-Jones for 10 yards and then Higdon scored on a 5-yard rush to take a 27-7 lead.
Wolverines force turnover
Rodney Smith picked up nine yards on a first down run and Kobe McCrary added four more for a first down, but Khaleke Hudson strip-sacked Demry Croft to give Michigan the ball right back at the Gophers' 46-yard line.
Peters roughed up
Michigan started the drive at their own 23 with about 11 minutes left in the third. Karan Higdon rushed for five yards, Eddie McDoom took an end-around for a yard and Brandon Peters was slammed to the ground on a sack to end the drive. The young quarterback was lucky to hold onto the ball.
Minnesota can't gain positive yards
Rashan Gary was flagged for illegal hands to the face to give Minnesota the ball at the 49-yard line with a first down, but the Gophers kept moving in the wrong direction. Sacks by Chase Winovich, Mike McCray and an intentional grounding set up a fourth-and-35 punt.
Thomas' strong return yields no points
To start the second half, Michigan's Ambry Thomas returned the kickoff 27 yards to the Michigan 32, but two short runs by Karan Higdon and a sack of Brandon Peters led to a Wolverines punt.
Nordin misses 48-yarder to end half
Michigan started the drive from its own 38-yard line. The first play was a Karan Higdon run which gained just one yard, surprisingly. Brandon Peters then made a nice play against he blitz, completing a 6-yard pass to Sean McKeon. Higdon had two more rushes for 10 yards before Chris Evans broke off a 19-yard rush to the Minnesota 26. An illegal block below the waist set up a second-and-23. Peters then hit Nate Schoenle for eight yards to the Gophers' 31 to set up fourth-and-15. Quinn Nordin's 48-yard field goal missed to the right by a few feet. Minnesota would take a knee to end the half.
Minnesota offense goes backwards
A lackluster return gave Minnesota the ball at their own 18. Rodney Smith rushed for a loss of two yards and then Demry Croft was sacked by Maurice Hurst for a loss of six yards. A short run by Phillip Howard on third-and-long led to a Minnesota punt.
Higdon, Evans combine for quick 91-yard drive
The ground game remained a focal point of the Michigan offense as it started at its own nine. Karan Higdon rushed two times for 13 yards and then Chris Evans broke off runs of 18 and 60 yards for another Wolverines touchdown. Michigan took a 20-7 lead after a 91-yard drive consisting of four rushing plays.
Michigan defense steps up
The Gophers continued to find success on the ground as Rodney Smith ran for eight yards on first down and then Kobe McCrary dragged defenders on a 13-yard run on the next play. The Gophers failed to gain any more yardage and then punted to Donovan Peoples-Jones who returned the ball 21 yards, but Michigan was called for holding.
Gophers get crucial defensive stop
Karan Higdon continued his strong performance with a 12-yard run to his own 44-yard line on first down. Brandon Peters was then sacked for a 9-yard loss before Chris Evans rushed for seven. However, Peters' third-down throw was incomplete and the Wolverines were forced to punt. Brad Robbins' punt pinned the Gophers inside their own 10 at the 9-yard line.
Minnesota offense held in check
Rodney Smith returned the James Foug kickoff to the Minnesota 25-yard line. Demry Croft picked up six yards on a scramble and then the Gophers received a false start penalty to set up a second-and-11. Croft then scrambled again after not being able to find any open receivers down field, gaining just two yards, setting up a fourth down. Michigan nearly blocked Ryan Santoso's punt but Donovan Peoples-Jones ended up fair-catching it at his own 32.
Karan Higdon remains hot
Ambry Thomas returned the ensuing kickoff to the Michigan 23 to start the drive. Brandon Peters tried to hit an open Donovan Peoples-Jones on the left side of the field, but the receiver dove and couldn't reel it in. However, Karan Higdon picked up the offense with a 77-yard touchdown run on second down. Quinn Nordin missed the extra point and Michigan led 13-7.
Run game propels Minnesota to end zone
After a touchback to set up a first down at his own 25, Demry Croft hit Phillip Howard over the middle for 16 yards. A few plays later after a couple of short Rodney Smith rushes, Croft picked up eight yards on a third-and-six to the Michigan 47. Later, on a second down, Howard ran for 12 yards to the Michigan 30 and then Croft added another 12 yards to break into the red zone. Smith scampered for a 10-yard touchdown to respond to Michigan's opening score, tying the game 7-7.
Michigan offense shows life on first drive
The Wolverines began their first drive at their own 17-yard line with Brandon Peters getting his first start. He completed his first pass to Donovan Peoples-Jones for eight yards before Karan Higdon broke off a 47-yard run. A couple more short passes and quick runs set up a 20-yard touchdown pass to tight end Sean McKeon.
Minnesota's opening drive stalls
The Golden Gophers received the ball to begin the game. Demry Croft had a 25-yard pass to set up solid field position at his own 45, but the Gophers were only able to pick up eight more yards before a 30-yard punt.
Lightning and heavy rain have delayed the Michigan-Minnesota game at Michigan Stadium.
The gates to the stadium will not be open to fans until 30 minutes after the last lighting strike, and right now that’s projected for 7:30 p.m. – the original start time for the game. The game is expected to kick off at 8:45 p.m.
According to the weather radar, it appears to be a gap in rain from 7:45 until about 10:15 and then there’s another wave of rain coming. But lightning is the issue. The game is delayed 30 minutes after every lightning strike within a 10-mile radius.
You can follow the action here with live updates throughout the game by Connor Muldowney of The Detroit News.
MICHIGAN VS. MINNESOTA
When: 8:30 Saturday
Where: Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor
TV / radio: Fox / 950
Records: Minnesota 4-4 (1-4), Michigan 6-2 (3-2 Big Ten)
Line: Michigan by 15