Of course, none of that mattered. Michigan came out and controlled the game from the very beginning.
The Michigan offense netted 21 points by halftime with drives of 78, 74, and 63 yards. Those drives were a mix of a punishingly consistent run game spurred by Denard Robinson and a number of clutch plays in the passing game to keep drives alive.
The defense scored a touchdown of its own and turned Purdue's first two drives into three-and-outs and added another in the second quarter. The Boilermakers' two scores were a 51 yard drive that was halted outside the red zone for a field goal, and a touchdown drive set up by a short field after a Michigan fumble.
There were certainly things to worry about. The offensive line failed to open holes in the run game, often relying on Denard Robinson's brilliance to create rushing yards out of creases that light could barely sneak through. The combination of Will Hagerup's huge leg and the coaches' insistence on sticking with the old fashioned two-gunner formation is going to yield a big return sooner rather than later. But nit picking glosses over the fact that for the vast majority of the game, Michigan did whatever it needed -- and wanted -- to do to get a win against Purdue in West Lafayette.
It remains to be seen how good the Boilermakers are, but road wins in the Big Ten are still a valuable commodity. Michigan will need a few more before all is said and done.
Michigan 44, Purdue 13 - Touch the Banner
I'm officially concerned about Fitzgerald Toussaint and the running game. Toussaint (17 carries, 19 yards, 2 touchdowns) looks slower this year, quite frankly. He also looks like he's dancing too much instead of burrowing forward for a couple yards when he can. Of course, it starts with the offensive line, and I haven't been impressed this year with what the offensive line is doing. None of the offensive linemen has taken a step forward this year, in my opinion. Taylor Lewan has taken a step backward, and the other guys are just average. Obviously, Denard Robinson (24 carries, 235 yards) was great, but the offensive line can't open holes for the running backs. Even Thomas Rawls, who had good numbers (4 carries, 33 yards, 1 touchdown), had to break tackles at the line of scrimmage to get anything done.
Out of the desert, Michigan feasts on Big Ten bounty - The Michigan Daily
This isn’t Bo Schembechler’s Big Ten, and it wasn’t exactly the tailback for three yards and a cloud of dust. Toussaint averaged just 1.1 yards per carry on 17 touches. No, this is the new Big Ten, where ball control and a dash of flapping shoelaces are enough to win. Yes, the Wolverines’ defense was smothering. When Jake Ryan wasn’t in the backfield, he was disrupting the potent Purdue screen game in the flats. He knows Big Ten games are different. “We all know it,” Ryan said.
Michigan dominates Purdue from start to finish - The Detroit News
Rushing totals and records aside, this game was a confidence boost for Robinson coming off a five-turnover performance two weeks ago at Notre Dame. He looked poised and relaxed from the start, directing a 17-play, 78-yard drive that used 8:48 on the Wolverines' first possession of the game. "I'm sure it was good for his confidence," U-M coach Brady Hoke said. "It was probably good for all of us to some degree. When you look at it at the end of the game, he looked real comfortable. He was very ready to play the game, and it showed."
Engineering - Hoover Street Rag
But the predicted doom and gloom never came. Michigan looked like a team that had two losses to teams ranked in the top ten and Purdue looked like a team who had three wins over some of the dregs of FBS. We don't know a lot of things after September. Some things are obvious, usually which teams are really good and which teams are really bad, but we also don't know a lot about the middle because of the imbalance of schedules. Would we feel better about Michigan if the Alabama game had been, say, Buffalo or Ball State? Probably, but we don't have that luxury now. But we do know that no one who is eligible to play in the Big Ten championship game is really that much better than anyone else. Today we saw Northwestern lose to Penn State, we saw Michigan State struggle with Indiana, a sentence I had difficulty typing over the sheer incredulity of it, and Nebraska and Ohio State trade points and make people question the existence of their defense. Michigan answered its critics in a way that no other Big Ten team can claim today.
Revamped offensive game plan helps turn Denard Robinson into 'road warrior' - AnnArbor.com
The Wolverines had been averaging more than 40 points at home under offensive coordinator Al Borges, but just 20.9 away from Ann Arbor. They were a sparkling 10-0 at home in that time, but 3-4 away from the Big House. Borges did a lot of self evaluation during the off week, and realized he had to change his playcalling to put Robinson in better positions to succeed. He noted too often Michigan was attacking opponenents vertically in the passing game, and had gotten away from the run.