Rush Offense vs. Minnesota Rush Defense
Michigan is #39 in the country with 211 rushing yards/game and tied for #26 with 5.6 yards/carry. Starting running back Derrick Green (391 yards, 6.1 yards/carry, 3 touchdowns) seems to have taken a pretty strong lead in the running back race, but he comes with faults - indecision, spotty vision, and the like. De'Veon Smith (194 yards, 6.9 yards/carry, 2 touchdowns) is the short yardage back who doesn't often get short yardage carries, and Justice Hayes (86 yards, 6.1 yards/carry) is the third down back who gets 3rd-and-long draws just about every time there's a 3rd-and-long. Michigan has run the ball passably this season, but they lack a home run threat or the physical identity they seek. Minnesota is #51 against the run by giving up 132 yards/game on the ground, and they're #57 in yardage allowed/carry. Senior linebacker Damien Wilson (6'2", 240 lbs.) is the stud with 44 tackles (tied for #8 nationally), 3 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and a pick. Fifth year senior Cameron Botticelli (6'5", 290 lbs.) takes over for Ra'Shede Hageman as the Gophers' most productive interior lineman and has 12 tackles with 3.5 tackles for loss. The linebackers are all a shade under 240 lbs., and the defensive tackles are roughly 290 lbs., but they are a little light at defensive end, where the starters are a shade over 250 lbs. Derrick Green may find the sledding to be tough against such stout linebackers.
Pass Offense vs. Minnesota Pass Defense
Your guess is as good as mine here. Fifth year senior Devin Gardner got yanked last week after another rough performance, and his replacement, sophomore Shane Morris, was equally inept. Michigan keeps delaying naming a starting quarterback, and it will supposedly be a "game-time decision." One theory suggests that head coach Brady Hoke is dragging his feet only because they're going to make a change. Another theory is that Minnesota has to spend time preparing for both quarterbacks, so it could just as feasibly be Gardner who takes the first snap. Neither direction would surprise me. Michigan is tied for third-worst at throwing interceptions (8) so far this year, and they're #97 in passer rating. Gardner is the most experienced and has actually had stretches of success in college. Morris has a career 0-to-4 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Ugh. Michigan's best receiver, Devin Funchess, is 6'5", 230 lbs. of gimpy ankle, and nobody else has stepped up as a go-to guy in his partial absence. Meanwhile, Minnesota is #85 against the pass (252 yards/game) but #24 in passer rating against. It helps that three of their opponents have been Eastern Illinois, Middle Tennessee State, and San Jose State. The pass rush is led by Wilson, sophomore defensive end Hendrick Ekpe (6'5", 251 lbs.), and redshirt junior defensive tackle Robert Ndondo-Lay (6'5", 250 lbs.). The Gophers have picked off 7 passes altogether, including 2 from redshirt junior Briean Boddy-Calhoun (5'11", 190 lbs.). The secondary is filled with third- and fourth-year players, plus sophomore Jalen Myrick, who had a 31-yard pick-six against MTSU.
Rush Defense vs. Minnesota Rush Offense
Michigan is #8 in rush defense (80 yards allowed/game) and #9 in average yards allowed (2.5 yards/carry). The defensive linemen and linebackers do not make a ton of plays in the backfield, but they are stout at the point of attack and they tackle well. Starting linebackers Jake Ryan and Joe Bolden lead the team with 33 and 28 tackles, respectively. Redshirt sophomore nose tackle Ryan Glasgow (6'4", 296 lbs.) has started to assert himself as a clogger in the middle, and classmate Willie Henry (6'2", 306 lbs.) has been forceful as a 3-tech defensive tackle and even as a defensive end in some looks. The Wolverines are #40 in tackles for loss, led by Frank Clark (4.5) and Jake Ryan (4.0). On the other side of the ball, Minnesota is #30 in rushing (236 yards/game) and #38 in rushing average (5.1 yards/carry). Senior David Cobb (5'11", 220 lbs.) carries the load (92 carries, 539 yards, 5.9 yards/carry, 4 touchdowns) and can run through some tackles, but he's not a burner. The primary backup is Berkley Edwards (5'9", 190 lbs.), who has just 12 carries in the last three games. The most dangerous runner other than Cobb is possible starting quarterback Chris Streveler (6'2", 219 lbs.), who would be filling in for injured redshirt sophomore Mitch Leidner (6'4", 237 lbs.). Streveler carried the ball 18 times for 161 yards and a touchdown last week. The Gophers' offensive line averages 312 lbs. and the team is designed to run the ball. The left side of the line was honorable mention all-conference last season, right tackle Ben Lauer was a Freshman All-American, and there are a few Academic All-Big Ten performers. This is a ball control outfit that could wear down Michigan's defense if the Wolverines' offense can't sustain some drives.
Pass Defense vs. Minnesota Pass Offense
Michigan is #28 against the pass (181 yards allowed/game) and #61 in passer rating against, but the only bad performance was against Notre Dame in a 31-0 loss. Otherwise, Michigan has been putting pressure on the quarterback - without necessarily getting there for sacks - and covering fairly well. Michigan is #61 in sacks, and defensive end Brennen Beyer is the only player with multiple quarterback takedowns. On the back end, sophomore corner Jourdan Lewis is the only one with a pick; Michigan's only other interception came from defensive tackle Willie Henry, who returned it for a touchdown last week against Utah. Some sources are saying that Leidner will start, and he's the better passer of the two quarterbacks. He has completed just over 48% of his passes for 362 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions. If Streveler is behind center, he's 4/11 for 37 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. The receiving corps isn't anything special, particularly if redshirt sophomore tight end Maxx Williams (6'4", 250 lbs.) remains sidelined with an injury. Sophomore Donovahn Jones (6'3", 200 lbs.) has 6 catches for 92 yards and 1 touchdown, but he has been blanked the past two weeks. Junior K.J. Maye had 2 catches for 65 yards but did not record a catch in Minnesota's other three games. Overall, Minnesota is #124 in passing (119 yards/game) and #122 in passer rating.
- C Brian Bobek is a transfer from Ohio State
- RB Berkley Edwards is the son of Stan Edwards and brother of Braylon Edwards, both of whom played for Michigan
- Twin linemen Kyle and Luke McAvoy are the younger brothers of former Michigan lineman Tim McAvoy
- Players who were offered by Michigan include RB Jeff Jones and OT Jonah Pirsig
- The two native Michiganders on Minnesota's roster are Edwards and Port Huron LB Dominic Schultz
- H-backs/tight ends coach Rob Reeves attended Saline High School and went to college at Grand Valley State University
- Minnesota TE Maxx Williams gave the Wolverines trouble with 5 catches for 54 yards and a touchdown, and QB Mitch Leidner ran the ball 18 times for 66 yards
- Fitzgerald Toussaint (2), Derrick Green (1), and Devin Gardner (1) each ran for at least one touchdown
- Devin Funchess caught 7 passes for 151 yards and 1 touchdown
- Blake Countess returned an interception 72 yards for a touchdown
- Michigan 42, Minnesota 13
- Derrick Green goes over 100 yards rushing
- Shane Morris starts at quarterback
- Devin Gardner relieves Shane Morris at quarterback
- Michigan's run defense stifles Minnesota's offense
- Michigan 20, Minnesota 10