Ah yes. That's more like it.
The Wolverines moved to 5-0 on the season and kicked off B1G play with a solid victory over the Minnesota Golden Gophers, 42-13.
Another great win for the Maize and Blue! #GoBlue #134— Jake Ryan (@JakeRyan_47) October 6, 2013
Great Win for my Wolverines. Hail Hail!!! That's the way you start the Big 10 season. Go Blue!!!!— Braylon Edwards (@OfficialBraylon) October 5, 2013
Cheesin' with The Jug: pic.twitter.com/usDrz78LYO— Michigan Football (@umichfootball) October 6, 2013
Michigan wasn't perfect on Saturday afternoon but it took many steps in the right direction. First and foremost, Devin Gardner was able to do something he hasn't done before at Michigan.
Gardner, for the first time as the starting QB at Michigan, played a game without a turnover. I repeat, Devin Gardner had ZERO TURNOVERS IN GAME #5.
This is the first time that Michigan HAS NOT TURNED THE BALL OVER since Devin Gardner became the starting QB (10 starts).— Drew Hallett (@DrewCHallett) October 5, 2013
#98 didn't have to do too much in the beginning stages of the game and looked more like a game manager. Nothing wrong with that. Michigan used the running game to open things up for the passing attack and not before too long, Gardner was throwing it to Gallon, Funchess, Chesson and even Dileo.
Gardner wasn't always crisp with the ball. Receivers had to continually reach back for balls that were inaccurate and mediocre, at best. Gardner's main issue was his decision making and the fact that he was able to show improvement in that phase of the game is the most important thing to take away.
Gardner: if they call on me to throw passes, I will... But this was for me to manage the game— Mark Snyder (@Mark__Snyder) October 5, 2013
Michigan decided to focus on the run game early and often. Brady Hoke decided to shift things up and insert Chris Bryant onto the offensive line. The change allowed Graham Glasgow to move to the Center position and Bryant was able to fill the vacated Left Guard position.
The men on the offensive line are working on chemistry and some continuity. For the first time in a few weeks, the run game above par.
The combination of Fitzgerald Touissant and Derrick Green had a lot of success behind the new-look offensive line.
PASS: Gardner - 13/17, 235 yds, 1 TD | RUSH: Toussaint - 17 att, 78 yds, 2 TD / Green: 10 att, 23 yds, 1 TD / Gardner: 7 att, 17 yds, 1 TD— Michigan Football (@umichfootball) October 5, 2013
There were two things on offense that were completely unexpected.
1. Taylor Lewan lined up on the right side of numerous offensive formations.
2. Devin Funchess played on the outside and caught multiple passes deep down the field.
Lewan is the embodiment of a Michigan Man and this latest development is just another sign of his maturity and leadership. Play after play, Lewan would live up on the right side and Michigan would run the ball on shift to the strong side. Play after play, Michigan gained positive yardage. This could be a formation that Al Borges makes a part of the offense on a weekly basis.
Devin Funchess is a beast. A guy who is too quick for opposing linebackers and too big for any of the opposition on the opposing secondary. Funchess' ability to line up on the outside makes him a deep threat and can open up lanes for Jeremy Gallon and Drew Dileo, as well as the youngster Jehu Chesson.
Funchess (through 3): 5 catches, 83 yards, 1 TD pic.twitter.com/r2s1cx81Uh— Michigan Football (@umichfootball) October 5, 2013
I'll go out on a limb and say Funchess is better at catching passes than blocking guys... Just sayin'.— Chantel Jennings (@ChantelJennings) October 5, 2013
The defense showed improvement in it's ability to get to the opposing team's QB, but it's there's still a lot of work needed on D.
Michigan may have held Minnesota to 13 points but the Golden Gophers had a few drives where they took the ball down the field for a long, long time. Minnesota's mobile QB caused havoc for the Maize and Blue at times but Michigan was able to limit the big plays.
This season, the only thing as common as a Devin Gardner turnover is a Blake Countess interception.
Countess continues to impress and gives the Wolverine faithful dreams of the next Charles Woodson.
Blake Countess is the first Michigan player with 4 INTs in a season since Donovan Warren in 2009.— Drew Hallett (@DrewCHallett) October 5, 2013
Pick 6, Countess!!— Michigan Football (@umichfootball) October 5, 2013
@UMGoBlog gotta make #2 a legend's number for Woodson and give it to Countess.— Corey (@coreysterner) October 5, 2013
Two players for Michigan got injured during the Minnesota game and one looked pretty bad. Defensive Tackle Ondre Pipkins and Left Guard Kyle Kalis were banged up, with Pipkins' injury looking much worse.
Coach Hoke does not have an injury update on Ondre Pipkins.— Michigan Football (@umichfootball) October 5, 2013
Pipkins was just carted off the field. I'm guessing Hoke will call it a boo-boo today, but it doesn't look good.— Chantel Jennings (@ChantelJennings) October 5, 2013
Hoke: no update on Pipkins and Kalis injuries, will know more tomorrow— Mark Snyder (@Mark__Snyder) October 5, 2013
There is no reason to feel bad about this Wolverine victory. This was a win with real signs of growth and a shift to the early days of the season. It may not have been a dominant performance from all phases of the game, but a 42-13 victory is miles away from the nights of Akron and Connecticut.
"It's a work in progress -- we're improving, but we're a long way away from where we want to be." - Coach Hoke— Michigan Football (@umichfootball) October 5, 2013
"No turnovers, had 2 penalities -- speaks to how these guys worked during the bye week." - Coach Hoke— Michigan Football (@umichfootball) October 5, 2013
TWITTER REACTIONS FOR GAME FIVE...
2015 QB Alex Malzone on Michigan visit: "Loved it. Talked to pretty much every coach, it was great."— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) October 5, 2013
Reasons why I like Michigan football games: pic.twitter.com/KzEz2tOqel— Max Albert (@maxvwalbert) October 5, 2013