Last week in The Big House, Michigan was ambushed by a way overmatched and historically, well not that good, Akron Zips football team and Blue was very fortunate to have pulled out the 28-24 victory at home.
Now, going on the road for the first time in 2013 to face a UConn Huskies team whom by many accounts was also considered to be not that good, left followers of the Maize and Blue program quite interested and somewhat nervous to see exactly how Brady Hoke’s team would respond.
Thanks to a Devin Gardner 17-yard touchdown scramble, for almost the entire first half, the Wolverines found themselves leading in a 7-0 game with the Michigan defense dominating the tight battle allowing only one first down and no third down Huskies’ conversions.
But then the last four minutes happened and in those last four minutes the Huskies tied the game on a Chandler Whitmer to Spencer Parker 11-yard completion and score. Then two minutes later, Whitmer completed a 7-yard pass to Lyle McCombs for a 14-7 Huskies lead.
Things didn’t get any better for Michigan come third quarter as once again UConn scored thanks to a Devin Gardner fumble and 34-yard return by Huskies’ Ty-Meer Brown which then made the score 21-7.
Fortunately for the the Maize and Blue faithful UConn wouldn’t score again as Michigan rallied and relied on the athleticism of junior linebacker Desmond Morgan and the legs of senior running back captain Fitzgerald Toussaint .
Trailing by 7 with eleven minutes to play in the 4th quarter, with a first-and-fifteen, the UConn Huskies’ quarterback tossed a pass across the middle that Desmond Morgan snagged out of the air and returned deep into Huskies territory. Fitzgerald Toussaint then cashed in on the turnover with his second TD on the night on a 12-yard scamper to tie the score at 21.
Toussaint carried the ball 24 times in the game for 120 yards and two touchdowns. His first came in the third quarter via a 35-yard rush into the end zone.
Wolverine kicker Brendan Gibbons finished the scoring with a 21-yard boot with 4:36 to go in the fourth.
Overall, the Wolverines struggled once again and luckily Brady Hoke’s team will have an extra week off to get ready for Minnesota and Big Ten play.
Devin Gardner one again turned the ball over more than should be expected as he posted his third multi-interception game this year tossing two picks as he completed 11 of 23 passes for 97 yards and no touchdowns passing. Although just like the game against Akron, Gardner contributed on the ground to the victory rushing the ball 19 times for 64 yards with one score.
Everyone including Wolverine offensive coordinator Al Borges wants to see a “pro-style” offense take the field each Saturday. But so far this year, when needed most, in the most competitive of games, it has been Devin Gardner’s scramble ability that provided the Wolverines their advantage.
This week it was great to see the defense make a big play late and the run-game get the ball into the end-zone in the second half.
Brady Hoke has shown great allegiance to the senior captain Fitzgerald Toussaint this year and it is quite possible that he is not starting to finally get over his leg injury and could be rounding into the feature back the Wolverines desperately need.