by Andy Andersen
The Wolverines played their second prime time night game of this season Saturday in Evanston at Ryan Field. They were striving for their sixth straight win in what, at its start, was considered by many to be a throw away season.
Some understandably predicted that Brady Hoke’s first season would be fraught with all the problems new systems and coaching regimes inevitably and gratuitously provide. So far those types of bumps in the road have been seamlessly overcome and have not caused anything but some anxious moments.
While the biggest challenges of the season remain ahead, their 12/11 national ranking going into the game, which the coaches avidly swear is inaccurate and means nothing to them, will in fact change recent national perceptions of Michigan football if that level continues or advances.
By Andy Andersen
First, the Gophers lost their Coach, Jerry Kill, to illness. Fortunately he was back on the sidelines Saturday, hale and hearty to all appearances.
Then they lost their talented starting QB, the adept Marqueis Gray, to an injured toe, and he could not play Saturday. They had to utilize Freshman Max Shortell at that critical position. He endured a very tough afternoon learning about B1G (Big Ten) football, but he showed some skill. He was 11 of 22 for 104 yards with a long throw of 33.
After that, they had to face an energized and physical group of Wolverines who wanted to get off to a good start on their Big Ten schedule in the new Legends Division. They did so offensively and defensively.