Minnesota got obliterated in their first game against the Michigan Wolverines. While there is plenty of blame to go around, Minnesota's porous run defense was particularly abysmal. As a result, the Wolverines ran for 200+ yards and enjoyed success with multiple rushers. On the offensive side of the ball, Minnesota's quarterback Tanner Morgan struggled to move the ball against Michigan's dominant pass rush. As a result, he forced numerous turnovers and was sacked five times. If Minnesota seeks to bounce back, their head coach will need to do a better job protecting his signal-caller.
No Players Records
Advanced Team Grades
Run Offense (Overall)
Passing Offense (Overall)
Moving the Chains
Overall QB Play
Game Notes on Offense
There were many positives and negative aspects of Minnesota's offense yesterday. The biggest bright spot for this team was that Mohamed Ibrahim could rush for 142 yards and two scores against a daunting Michigan front seven. Considering that Minnesota's offensive line struggled to control the line of scrimmage, this rushing success is a testament to Ibrahim's elusiveness, patience, and impeccable ball carrier vision.
Unfortunately for Gopher fans, their quarterback Tanner Morgan was less successful against the Wolverine's front seven. Against Michigan, Morgan's pocket presence was horrendous. At times, he looked like a deer in headlights, like when he was leveled off the edge by LB Michael Barrett. While Minnesota's OL is at fault for allowing 18 total pressures, Morgan failed to recognize blitzes pre-snap or feel them in the pocket.
This issue stymied the offense's ability to move the chains and led to many mistakes. However, big plays generated by Gophers receivers kept the offense in position to score 24 points. Therefore, head coach P.J. Fleck has a quality receiving corps to work with.
Protection & Blocking
Tanner Morgan had an underwhelming performance against Michigan. While he was able to air it out to his receivers occasionally, Morgan failed to sustain drives due to his bad pocket presence. If he looks to boost his draft stock, Morgan will need to improve his awareness in the pocket and tight window accuracy.
While Minnesota's OL and QB struggled yesterday, their receiving corps and RBs played phenomenally. RB Mohamed Ibrahim was the MVP of this game due to his excellent rushing production and versatility in the receiving game. Likewise, Rashod Bateman proved that he is worth all the hype due to his ability to outmuscle DBs. Consequently, Bateman dusted Michigan's secondary nine times for 101 yards and was able to draw pass interferences against the Wolverine's aggressive corners. If Minnesota can keep Morgan protected, Bateman and his teammate Chris Autman-Bell will be two explosive wideouts in the Big Ten.
Passing Game Defense
Stopping the Run
Controlling the Line of Scrimmage
Game Notes on Defense
Minnesota's run defense was abysmal yesterday. During their game against Michigan, this team allowed over 200 rushing yards and made multiple mistakes as a unit. For instance, this team allowed an early 70-yard TD early by Michigan's RB Zach Charbonnet. As a result, the Wolverines controlled the line of scrimmage and generated multiple explosive plays. The one silver lining for the Gophers was that they forced two fumbles against Michigan. Still, this unit projects to be a liability for Minnesota.
Special Teams Comments
This unit blocked a punt but allowed an explosive return by Michael Barrett.
Play of the Game
Hard fought 21-yard TD score by Mohamed Ibrahim.
Comments on Coaching
Despite suffering a horrendous loss, Minnesota's coaching was not the biggest concern. In fact, this coaching staff employed a series of motion plays and aggressiveness to keep Minnesota in position to score 24 points. As a result, the Gophers could air the ball out to playmakers like Bateman and Autman-Bell for big plays. Simultaneously, this offense moved the chains due to stellar play design and execution from Ibrahim.
However, poor execution from the OL and QB positions is a troubling sign for Minnesota fans. Even worse, the Gophers' defense lacked the discipline and ability to contain the Wolverines rushing attack. Therefore, P.J. Fleck will need to find ways to improve this unit next week. Furthermore, Fleck will also need to do a better job making halftime adjustments to prevent Tanner Morgan from getting walloped in the backfield by pass rushers.