It seems Devin Funchess has found his role in the Michigan offense and it's not at tight end. The sophomore led all receivers with 7 catches for 151 yards and a touchdown...easily his best outing of the season. What was most impressive, other than the fact that he's a tight end playing wideout, is that on his 46 yard grab in the second half, he had visible separation from the cornerback. Not only does he have height, hands and great catching ability...but now it seems he has speed. What a combination and exactly what the doctor ordered for this offense.
Oh, and Gardner's pass on that play was absolutely spot on.
I don't seem any defensive backs under 6 feet being able to defend this guy. By the time Michigan is playing Michigan State, he will command a double-teams on every route.
Devin had exactly the kind of game he needed to have to help wash away the frustration of the last two games. 13 of 17 for 235 yards and a touchdown are good stats, but the best stat of all was zero turnovers. This was Devin's first start at QB without committing a turnover dating back to the Minnesota game last year.
Borges's gameplan was simple. Get the ball into the hands of Fitz and Green as much as possible to take the pressure off Gardner. And while Minnesota seemed bent on stopping the run, Devin was able to make them pay for putting 8 in the box for much of the game...both with his arm and his feet.
I saw plenty of tweets during the game of fans complaining the the ABC announcers were being a little tough on old 9D8. All I can say is it's their job to be critical, and for some guys, being critical of a Michigan QB is good for TV. I don't care it every pass wasn't placed perfectly. More times than not, the ball was thrown to where the receiver could make a play. More importantly, it was thrown where only the M receiver could catch it, and not someone else.
The running back duo
It was great to see Derrick Green get some meaningful carries this week. He had two in the first drive, which signals a definite shift in the offensive gameplan going forward. It's still going to be Fitz's offense, but he now has a very capable and dependable option to give him a breather. I thought Green ran the ball well, and could've broken some runs for bigger yards.
I think in a different game, a game in which Michigan can run more offensive plays, both backs get more carries. I don't put too much weight on the fact that M ran 35 times for 113 yards. That was against a pretty decent defensive line which spent most of the day selling out to stop the run.
The O-Line 2.0
Overall, I was pretty happy with the reshuffled offensive line. I don't think they played any worse than the previous lineup. In fact, it seemed to me that Gardner looked more comfortable in the pocket...and the fact that there was a pocket.
There were some breakdowns. Hoke mentioned that Chris Bryant probably "swung and missed" on a few blocks, but I think overall I liked what I saw on Saturday. There didn't seem to be a ton of pressure up the middle, so maybe Glasgow is working out at center.
I don't think Kalis was hurt that badly. He jogged off the field, to a rousing applause, and actually reentered the game a few plays later for Gardner's touchdown run.
Defense was solid
Overall, I thought the defense showed up to play. Minnesota did everything they could to go out of their way to run the ball. They put to the ball in the RBs hands 41 times for 136 yards. I'll take a 3.3 yards per rush average, and no touchdowns, any day.
Leidner was a bit of wildcard as he was able to make some plays with his feet. He had a lot of success early in the game, but as the game wore on, Michigan was able to contain him for the most part and take over control of the game.
It would've been great to see Jake Ryan at least dress. I doubt we see him play against Penn State.
No official word on Pipkins. His left leg was wrapped up pretty well as he was carted up the tunnel.
Nice snag for the pick-6 by Blake Countess. I did notice Countess was absent from the backfield a couple times, and only came in on nickel situations. I'd like to know more about this development. His pick was his 4th of the year.
POINT AFTER: The interference non-call
Late in the second quarter, Michigan had a 3rd and 8 where Gardner threw one over the middle for Funchess and he was clearly interfered with and no call was made. That was complete horse radish.
Had the game been much closer than it ended up being, that call would've come back to haunt Michigan. That was a horrible call. And on top of that, I thought the spots the refs where giving both teams, especially Minnesota, were pretty suspect as well.