Without Kill on sidelines, Gophers overwhelmed by Wolverines, 42-13
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Devin Funchess insists he didn’t eat any extra Wheaties for breakfast or make any major changes to his game in preparation for the start of the Big Ten football schedule.
Instead, the sophomore tight end simply went out and followed the plan the coaching staff had set for him.
Funchess caught a career-high seven passes for 151 yards and a touchdown to help Michigan to a 42-13 win over Minnesota on Saturday at Michigan Stadium in the 100th anniversary of the Little Brown Jug rivalry series.
“I just had some bacon,” Funchess said, shrugging. “The coaches just told me what to do and I did it. Go out and run, block and try to get the job done.”
The trophy game was overshadowed by the news earlier in the afternoon that Minnesota coach Jerry Kill would not be on the sideline. Less than three hours before kickoff, Minnesota’s athletic department announced that Kill had suffered a seizure Saturday morning and had not traveled to Ann Arbor.
Defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys served as Minnesota’s coach, working from the press box.
With Philip Nelson nursing a hamstring injury, Minnesota’s Mitch Leidner made his second start of the season at quarterback. The redshirt freshman struggled early and finished 14 of 21 for 145 yards with one TD and one interception.
Michigan linebacker James Ross III recovered a fumble by Leidner less than two minutes into the game, which set up Michigan’s first touchdown.
Leidner’s 7-yard touchdown pass to Maxx Williams (five catches for 54 yards) tied the game at 7-7 with 52 seconds left in the first. The Golden Gophers (4-2, 0-2 Big Ten) had five third-down conversions in the 16-play scoring drive.
Facing third-and-14 with less than two minutes left in the second, the Wolverines (5-0, 1-0) took a 14-7 lead on Devin Gardner’s 24-yard touchdown pass to Funchess.
Derrick Green’s 2-yard run less than five minutes into the second half helped Michigan take a 21-7 lead, and with 4:26 left in the third quarter Chris Hawthorne’s 44-yard field goal cut the Wolverines’ lead to 21-10.
Fitzgerald Toussaint scored on a 12-yard run with 11 seconds left in the third, and Hawthorne kicked his second field goal (21 yards) to cut Michigan’s lead to 28-13 less than five minutes into the fourth.
Gardner added a 2-yard touchdown run with 2:36 left and Blake Countess scored on a 72-yard interception return with 1:19 left.