MichiThe 19th-ranked Michigan Wolverines scored 31 fourth quarter points and rallied for a 38-35 win against No. 13 Minnesota (6-1, 2-1) at the Metrodome on Friday night. The Golden Gophers will host Michigan State next Saturday at the Metrodome.
Things started well for Minnesota as Marion Barber III put the Golden Gophers on the board with his 20 yard touchdown run with six minutes to play in the first quarter.
The Golden Gophers increased the lead as freshman Laurence Maroney capped a 10 play, 89 yard drive with an eight yard jaunt. Minnesota would take the 14-0 lead into the break.
Following a Minnesota punt to start the third quarter, Michigan got on the board thanks to receiver Steve Breaston's 36 yard touchdown pass to quarterback John Navarre.
The Golden Gophers answered the score on their very next drive as Maroney earned his second multi-touchdown game of the season with a 38 yard run.
With time winding down in the third quarter, Justin Isom picked off a Navarre pass deep in Wolverine territory. The Golden Gophers capitalized with a Thomas Tapeh two yard run which made it 28-7 entering the fourth quarter.
Michigan got on the roll thanks to a rejuvenated Navarre. He led the Wolverines on a 10 play, 80 yard drive which was capped off by a Chris Perry 10 yard touchdown reception.
Leading 28-14 now, Minnesota took over on its own 20. On 1st down from the 31, Asad Abdul-Khaliq's pass was picked off by Jacob Stewart and returned 34 yards for the touchdown. Michigan now trailed 28-21 with 13:30 to play.
Minnesota answered back again. On third and short, Abdul-Khaliq kept the ball and raced 52 yards untouched for the score. With Minnesota leading 35-21, the Wolverines wasted little time in pulling back to within seven.
Navarre found Braylon Edwards for a 52 yard touchdown pass and the lead was 35-28 for Minnesota with 10:18 to play.
Following another defensive stand, the Wolverines got the ball back and drove 60 yards on eight plays and Perry rushed it in from 10 yards out and the ball game was tied at 35 with less than six minutes to play.
Minnesota was forced to punt after three plays and the Wolverines took over at their own 42. On fourth and one from the Minnesota 49, Navarre converted with a two yard gain. On the next play, he found Jason Avant for a 14 yard gain. On third and nine from the 32, Navarre completed an 11 yarder to Perry down to the 21. On fourth down from its 16, freshman Garrett Rivas made a 33 yard field goal to give Michigan a 38-35 lead.
Minnesota got the ball back at its own 20 and on third down, Abdul-Khaliq rushed for 18 yards, but the play was brought back for an illegal block. On second down from the 35, Abdul-Khaliq's pass was intercepted and the Wolverines ran the clock out for the victory.
Barber finished with a career-high 197 yards on 21 carries. Abdul-Khaliq earned his second 100 yard rushing game with 106 yards on just nine carries. As a team, Minnesota rushed for a total of 424 yards, the most ever under Glen Mason.
Navarre finished 33-47 for 353 yards and a pair of touchdowns for the Wolverines.
Minnesota Head Coach Glen Mason
" I am extremely proud of this team right now. They gave it everything that they had and really fought throughout. I am proud of how this team prepared this week and how that play translated into tonight's game."
" You have to give Michigan a lot of credit. They could have folded a few times but kept fighting and eventually got back into the game. That is a really skilled football team we just played"
"At times today I felt we played extremely well. Got off to the great start, had the crowd behind us and really were on top of our game. Then, at times I felt our play left a lot to be desired. In the fourth quarter we simply couldn't stop them."
"If you would have told me before the game that we would rush for 424 yards tonight, I would have told you that we won. That shows how little statistics mean. Yes, we did run the ball like few teams have ever been able to do against Michigan, but that did not translate into victory for us."
"I am not going to point fingers about this loss. We win as a team and we lose as a team. Those guys invest so much into being a member of this team that you can not fault them for how they played tonight. They played as hard as they could and that is all I can ask."
"In the second half we really did not have an answer for Chris Perry catching passes out of the backfield. Some people thought we were playing a prevent defense in the second half. We weren't. We were trying to go after them just as we were in the first half. We just weren't as successful."
"In the first half Michigan came out trying to run the ball and we really defended that well. Then in the second half they came out passing and we had no answer for that."
"Obviously now I have a big challenge. This team is down right now after this tough loss. We need to come back and be ready to play a very good Michigan State team next week. We don't have any time to be upset about this one game."
Minnesota Center Greg Eslinger:
"We have to take this game for what its worth and bounce back. We'll learn from our mistakes and fix things next week, but overall we had a good game minus the fourth quarter."
"This was character building and next will be as well. We need to take care of Michigan State and put this one behind us."
"Michigan is a good team. You have to expect that they would play all the way through the fourth quarter and not give up. That is how the Big Ten works."
Minnesota quarterback Asad Abdul-Khaliq:
"Our team left everything on the field today. We gave everything we had today, but we just were not able to close out the game."
(On team's rushing performance): "On paper it is a great performance from a rushing end. However, you have to go out and win on the scoreboard and not worry about statistics. The bottom line is the final score and we came up just short in that category tonight."
"No one thing made us lose this game it was a number of things. It is hard to put your finger on anything in particular, you just have to give Michigan credit for making the important plays down the stretch."
Running back Lawrence Maroney:
"This was a devastating loss. We played well and just did not come out on top today. However, it is no different from any other loss in the sense that we just need to regroup and be ready to play work hard to succeed next week."
"We have to show up to practice this week put this loss behind us and get ready to play a good Michigan State team. It is a tough loss, but as a team you have move forward and worry about the next opponent and that is what we will do."
Running back Marion Barber III
"Our offensive line did a great job tonight of giving us running lanes. I give them a lot of credit for creating opportunities for myself and the other running backs in the game tonight."
"Our team went all out tonight and gave a great effort. We just came up short on the scoreboard. We have to regroup and have a good week of practice and get ready to play a good game against Michigan State next week."