Michigan head coach Brady Hoke decided to make a change at quarterback prior to the start of the Wolverines’ meeting with the Minnesota Gophers for the Little Brown Jug.
Shane Morris was inserted into the lineup, but the sophomore signal-caller hasn’t exactly lit a spark under Michigan’s offense. The Wolverines are trailing the Gophers 10-7 at halftime, and Morris is struggling to get into a passing rhythm,.
Hoke made the move because senior Devin Gardner was 14-of-26 passing for 148 yards and two interceptions during Michigan’s 26-10 loss to the Utah Utes last weekend.
But Morris hasn’t played much better than Gardner. The former backup quarterback is 6-of-10 passing for 41 yards. Michigan’s only offense came from running back De’Veon Smith, who has 55 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Minnesota, likewise, is relying on their ground attack. The Gophers ran for 114 yards through two quarters. Senior David Cobb shouldered the load with 19 carries for 111 of those yards. Cobb also leads Minnesota with three receptions for 50 yards.
What’s most impressive about Cobb’s performance is his ability to break tackles and gain yards after contact. There were multiple instances during the first half when Michigan could have tackled the running back in the backfield, yet Cobb broke through arm tackles.
The Gophers are also winning the battle up front. Minnesota has been far more physical than Michigan, and the Gopher’s approach allowed them to control the first half. Jerry Kill‘s squad needs to maintain the same level of intensity in the second half to garner the victory.
The Wolverines, meanwhile, need to get Morris more involved in the offense and create easy throws for the young quarterback to complete. It’s clear Michigan is a more talented team from top to bottom, but their athletes can’t be pushed around by the Gophers’ offensive line.