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October 07, 2013 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2013-10-07

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Sports] onday

Michigan 42, Minnesota 13

The Michigan football team (top) touches the banner before its win over Minnesota. Redshirt junior linebacker Jake Ryan (left) holds the Little Brown Jug. Members of the team celebrate in the student section. This was the 100th game in the series.

Daily Sports Editor
On Saturday, streaks continued
and streaks were broken in the
Michigan football team's 42-13
win over Minnesota:
Michigan coach Brady Hoke
improved his home record - to

The Wolverines beat the Gold-
en Gophers for the sixth consecu-
tive year to keep the Little Brown
Jug in Ann Arbor.
And redshirt junior quarter-
back Devin Gardner played in
his first game as starter without
throwing an interception.
The Wolverines waited two

weeks to prove themselves after
their questionable non-confer-
ence play ended. Finally, on Sat-
urday, they looked a little more
like the Michigan team everyone
had expected to see from the
"We were thinking about Min-
nesota, and Minnesota was it,"
Gardner said. "It was the first Big

Ten game. Like we always say,
you never get a second chance to
make a first impression. It's the
Jug game, it's our homecoming
game. There's a lotgoing on."
As a way to try to minimize
turnovers, Michigan initially
resorted to the only fool-proof
method - not allowing Gardner
to throw the ball at all.

Gardner didn't attempt his first
pass until a little more than half-
way through the second quarter.
Michigan couldn't stay pass-less
forever, but the Wolverines even-
tually found a happy medium
between its number of runs and
throws in a game that finally
played out exactly as Michigan

"We were going to do what
was working, and (running the
ball) was what was working at the
time," Gardner said. "So if it's not
broke, don't fix it."
When the coaches did feel
comfortable calling passing plays,
they spread the ball between
multiple receivers,' with red-
See JUG, Page 3B

5 things we learned: Minnesota

Resurgent offensive
line carries Michigan

Daily Sports Editor
1. Devin Funchess:good at tight
end, better at wide receiver.
With sophomore tight end
Devin Funchess, Michigan
faced a growingly apparent
problem heading into its game
against Minnesota. When
involved in the passing game,
Funchess had developed into
one of the Wolverines' most
potent offensive weapons on
a team with limited receiv-
ing options. When blocking,
though, Michigan had better
options at the position in sopho-
more A.J. Williams and fresh-

man Jake Butt.
So on Saturday, the Wolver-
ines solved the problem: they
shifted him to wide receiver for
much of the game. The result
was instantly positive. Funch-
ess was Michigan's leading
receiver with seven catches for
151 yards and a touchdown, the
best performance of his career.
Funchess still played at tight
end for portions of the game,
but he made the biggest impact
when split wide. At 6-foot-5
and 235 pounds, Funchess can
create mismatches at either
position. At tight end, he is fast
enough to beat linebackers and
safeties. Against Minnesota, he
exploited the size of the Golden
Gophers' cornerbacks.

On Funchess's touchdown
pass, against a cornerback
six inches shorter than him,
Funchess ran a post, boxed out
the defender with his body and
broke free for the 24-yard score.
In the fourth quarter, Funch-
ess caught a 46-yard pass over a
cornerback five inches shorter.
Funchess beat the defender on
a streak, and redshirt junior
quarterback Devin Gardner
threw a pass over the top for the
Funchess is talented enough
to create mismatches in the
passing game, and Butt and
Williams are better in the
trenches. Funchess's shift to a
more receiver-heavy role allows
Michigan to add an impact play-

er at a thin position, and it will
improve the offensive line, too.
2. Michigan has found an
acceptable combination on the
offensive line.
Redshirt sophomore left
guard Chris Bryant was one of
the first players to hold up the
Little Brown Jug. That may
have just been because he was
one of the first players in line.
Or maybe nobody wanted to say
no to the 6-foot-4, 316-pound
In any case, it was fitting:
with the addition of Bryant to
the front five, the Wolverines
had their most impressive per-
See FIVE, Page 3B

At some point during a long two
weeks off for the Michigan football
team, the scuffling offensive line
made a pledge to Devin Gardner.
Allegedly, at least.
At that point, the line had strug-
gled against two meager oppo-
nents in Akron and Connecticut.
Gardner was, sacked four times
and hurried eight, and he suffered
through his two worst games as
the starter. As Gardner tells it, dur-
ingthe week, the line "told me they
weren't going to let me get hit. So I
like that."

Fifth-year senior left tackle Tay-
lor Lewan disputed that, saying he
would never pledge something he
couldn't deliver. ("If they bring too
many guys, if they bring 11 guys
and we have six protecting, I'm not
going to be like, 'OK Devin, good
luck!' " Lewan said.)
And yes, Gardner was sacked
once during the Wolverines' 42-13
win over Minnesota on Satur-
day, and he was hurried twice.
But Michigan's adjustments paid
dividends. Hoke inserted redshirt
sophomore guard Chris Bryant
into the lineup and moved redshirt
sophomore Graham Glasgow to
See LINE, Page 3B

U It's time to stop playing a song about
rape in a stadium full of 100,000 chil-
dren, families and, well, humans. Sports-
Monday column: Page 2B

In its first exhibition game, the Michi-
gan hockey team lost to Waterloo, of the
Canadian Interuniversity Sport league.
Page 2B


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