It’s been a rough season for the Minnesota Golden Gophers thus far, between head coach Jerry Kill’s health problems with seizures and the team’s 1-3 record thus far (including a 37-24 loss last week to FCS North Dakota State.)
The reeling Gophers looked to be an easy opponent for Michigan as they opened the Big Ten conference season. Thus far, that’s exactly how it’s playing out in Ann Arbor, with the Wolverines running out to a 31-0 halftime lead.
Whatever issues Denard Robinson has been having in the passing game looked to be smoothed out against Minnesota. Robinson has completed 13-of-16 passes for 153 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. He has also rushed for 51 yards and a score on six carries.
(During pregame warm-ups, there were some concerns from fans and media when Robinson had a bigger pad than usual on his right elbow. According to MGoBlog, Robinson had an abscess removed from the elbow earlier in the week. It’s possible that may have been a factor in his passing inaccuracy.)
One of the reasons Robinson has only six carries is that Michigan is getting production from its running backs. Fitzgerald Toussaint leads the Wolverines with 85 yards on seven carries.Vincent Smith has Michigan’s other rushing touchdown to go with his 27 yards on the ground.
Michigan has been playing with some creative options on offense. Smith also threw for a touchdown, connecting with receiver Drew Dileo on a halfback pass to begin the second quarter. The offense also lined up three times with Devin Gardner at quarterback and Robinson in the backfield.
Smith and tight end Kevin Koger have the other receiving touchdowns for Michigan. Junior Hemingway leads the team in first-half receiving yards with 42 yards on four catches.
Will Gardner get the nod at quarterback in the second half? Between the large halftime margin and Gardner only getting a little bit of playing time against Eastern Michigan in non-conference play, that seems like a safe bet.