The Michigan Wolverines improved to 6-2 on the season, with their 29-26 win over the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Saturday night. Michigan gave up an early field goal, before a Joe Kerridge touchdown run gave the Wolverines a 7-3 lead at the end of first quarter. The Maize and Blue struck gold again early in the second quarter when Jake Rudock found Jehu Chesson for a 13-yard score. The rest of the quarter was dominated by the Golden Gophers however, as Ryan Santoso added a pair of field goals, and Mitch Leidner found Rashad Still on a 52-yard touchdown pass that spun Michigan defender Jeremy Clark around. Michigan trailed 14-16 at the half, but wasted no time getting the lead back. With 11:22 left in the third quarter, Jabrill Peppers ran the ball into the end zone to give the Wolverines a 21-16 lead. After giving up 10 unanswered points, Michigan was trailing 26-21, when backup quarterback, Wilton Speight, found Jehu Chesson on a 12-yard pass. Seconds later, Speight found Amara Darboh for the two point conversion, giving Michigan a 3 point lead with 4:57 left. Leidner led the Golden Gophers down the field and threw what seemed to be the go-ahead touchdown with just seconds left. Review determined that the Minnesota player was down at the 1 yard line, setting up a 1st and goal situation. After a timeout, Minnesota attempted a quarterback sneak for the win, but it was stood up by the Michigan defensive line. A few players played above the rest in this matchup, lets see who deserves this weeks gameballs.
Gameball: Jabrill Peppers, Cornerback, Return man, Runningback, Wide Receiver, Quarterback (He does it all)
Bottom line is….this dude can ball! Peppers was all over the field on Saturday night. Whether he was swatting down passes, sparking the Wolverines with a big return, or running in a touchdown to give Michigan the lead, he was everywhere! Peppers is hands down the most electric player on the Wolverines roster, and has big play potential every time he is on the field. Now that the Big Ten season is in full swing, look for Peppers to be featured more and more each week. What I love about Jabrill: HE LOVES MICHIGAN. He loves the team, he loves the city of Ann Arbor, and he loves winning! He is all in for Michigan.
Gameball: Wilton Speight, Quarterback
In the third quarter, trailing 23-21, starting quarterback, Jake Rudock, was injured on a rushing play. Rudock scrambled, picked up a few yards, and slid to the turf. As he was sliding, Rudock was struck from behind by a Minnesota defender, and forced to leave the game with an injury. Insert Wilton Speight. The backup position was believed to belong to Junior Shane Morris, but when Rudock went down, it was Speight that coach Harbaugh turned to. The first few drives were shaky for Speight and the entire Wolverines offense. He wasn’t comfortable in the pocket until late in the fourth quarter. Speight lead the Wolverines down the field, thanks to a few big plays, and tossed the game winning touchdown and two point conversion. He didn’t have a huge game in the stat book, finishing 3-6 for 29 yards and a touchdown, but Speight showed some real guts late in the game. Make no mistake, there isn’t a quarterback controversy in Ann Arbor, but it was nice to see a young guy come into a conference game, and grind out a Win.
Gameball: Myself, Diehard Michigan Fan
I am awarding myself a gameball this week. There were multiple times during the game that I could not believe what I was watching. We couldn’t establish a run game, we couldn’t stop the pass, and we gave up multiple big plays. I managed to make it through the entire game without throwing a remote, punching a wall, or breaking my iPhone 6 Plus. Looking back, I would’ve been real upset if I broke my phone, and Michigan won. Anyway, kudos to me! Go Blue!
Who would you like to give the pigskin too?