On a very cold, October season opener, Michigan came to the University of Minnesota and will go home with the Little Brown Jug. It was a 24-49 win for the Wolverines that was total domination after the first 2 minutes.
Minnesota blocked a punt on Michigan’s opening possession, scored 2 plays later and jumped to a 7-0 lead with just over 2 minutes. From there it was all Wolverines in all three phases of the game.
Offensively, Michigan took advantage of short fields throughout the evening and then did whatever they wanted. In the first half they had 4 possessions (out of 7) that began inside Minnesota territory. The second half they were put into longer fields, but drove at will regardless.
On defense the Wolverines allowed a few long Minnesota drives. But they made big plays and big stops. A 15-yard strip sack for a touchdown gave them the early 14-7 lead. Two Gopher possessions drove inside the Michigan 5 yard line, but resulted in 3 total points.
Michigan was far from perfect on special teams. They had that early punt blocked and missed three field goals. But it was still a win for this unit tonight. Minnesota’s insistence on pooches or squibs on kickoffs gave Michigan great field position that directly led to points. And Minnesota’s decision to attempt a fake punt was thwarted, then turned into a touchdown late in the 2nd quarter.
It really was all Michigan tonight. There were questions about many new faces for the Gopher defense. Those questions were certainly not answered well. At different times you saw missed assignments from linebackers, defensive ends and safeties. Those resulted in chunk plays for the Michigan offense and many points.
This game wasn’t all on the defense. Special teams did them no favors and particularly in the first half, the offense with turnovers in our own territory do not do anyone any favors.
The one guy for the Gophers who had a good day was Mohamed Ibrahim. Struggled to get going in the first half but Ibrahim ended the game with 140 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns. His offensive line did a nice job of opening up holes for him in the second half.
Certainly a disappointing start for the 2020 Gophers. There are clearly things to be worked on and the Michigan Wolverines were the superior team tonight.
Up next for the Gophers is a trip to Maryland to face the 0-1 Terps on Friday night.