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News, Notes, Tid-Bits and Quotes from Gophers 35-13 Loss to Michigan

11/03/2012, 7:15pm CDT
By U of M Athletic Communications

SERIES NOTES
• Today's game was the 99th all-time meeting with Michigan, and the Wolverines now hold a 72-24-3 lead in the series.
• Minnesota has lost five straight in the series, and 21 of the past 22 games. The Gophers' last win was a 23-20 victory in Ann Arbor on Oct. 8, 2005.

TEAM NOTES
• Minnesota fell to 12-15 in games played at TCF Bank Stadium, but is 11-9 there since the start of 2010.
• The Gophers dropped to 4-2 at home this season.
• Kill's career record in home games fell to 82-31 (.726).
• Minnesota's defense forced a three-and-out on the opponent's opening series of the game for the second time this season. The Gophers forced a three-and-out on Wisconsin's initial series in Madison on Oct. 20.
• Minnesota held Michigan without a first down until 13:35 remaining in the second quarter. The Wolverines were limited to nine total yards on eight plays in the opening quarter.
• One week after recording 10 pass breakups in the 44-28 win versus Purdue, the Gophers were credited with just one.
• Minnesota finished with 13 points for the fourth time in five B1G games this season. The Gophers scored 44 points in last week's win versus Purdue.
• Minnesota's 14 pass completions were spread among nine different targets.

INDIVIDUAL NOTES (OFFENSE)
• True freshman quarterback Philip Nelson started his third consecutive game for the Gophers.
• Nelson threw a touchdown pass for the third straight game, and finished 13-of-29 for 142 yards with no interceptions. Nelson also rushed 10 times for 37 yards.
• Nelson caught his first career pass, as he took a throw from holder Peter Mortell for a five-yard gain on a fake field goal attempt.
• Senior tight end John Rabe caught his fourth TD of the season (sixth career) to open the scoring early in the second quarter.
• Sophomore running back Donnell Kirkwood and redshirt freshman right tackle Josh Campion are the only two offensive players to have started all nine games this season.
• Kirkwood was Minnesota's leading rusher, with 16 attempts for 58 yards.
• Freshman running back Rodrick Williams Jr. rushed nine times for 38 yards.
• Senior MarQueis Gray caught three passes for 27 yards.
• Junior wide receiver Derrick Engel had two catches for 45 yards.

INDIVIDUAL NOTES (DEFENSE)
• Sophomore safety Cedric Thompson intercepted his second pass of the season (and also career) on Michigan's second possession of the game.
• Junior defensive tackle Roland Johnson recorded his second sack of the season.
• Senior cornerback Troy Stoudermire tied for the team lead with nine tackles (four solo).
• Junior safety Brock Vereen tied Stoudermire with nine stops (two solo) and also had Minnesota's lone pass breakup.
• Junior nose tackle Ra'Shede Hageman recorded his fifth sack of the season as part of his six tackles (three solo).
• Five defensive players - Stoudermire, Hageman, sophomore defensive end Michael Amaefula, sophomore defensive tackle Cameron Botticelli, and senior cornerback Michael Carter - have started all nine games this season.

INDIVIDUAL NOTES (SPECIAL TEAMS)
• Senior kicker Jordan Wettstein was 2-of-3 on field goals, making fourth-quarter attempts from 26 and 19 yards. His lone miss was a 55-yard attempt as time expired in the first half.
• Wettstein is 11-of-19 this season, with three of his misses coming from greater than 50 yards.

Minnesota Head Coach Jerry Kill

On the missed opportunities...
"I don't think the score is an indication. To save a long conversation, I think that they came up and made some plays. They threw the ball up and the guy went up and got it a couple times. We had opportunities, threw the ball up, and we didn't come down with it. We had an opportunity to sack the quarterback on third-and-17, he runs around and throws a touchdown pass. We bring a blitz on one and we run right past the quarterback. So I think it was a deal of missed opportunities, and they made some plays and took advantage of their opportunities. Sooner or later you have got to make a play, and we couldn't make a play today."

On the message for the coming week ...
"The big thing is we played hard against Purdue and we made some of those plays, and every Saturday is a little bit different. We just need to work, we have got young players, we have got kids learning through some difficult times, and you just go back to work and then you make some of those plays. But, we had the opportunity to make plays, we just didn't. As I told our kids, we'll look at the video, they'll see it. I don't have to be tough on them, they are going to be tough on themselves, they want to make those plays. That's really what the game of football comes down to. You can go every Saturday, the team that makes the most plays generally wins."


Michigan Head Coach Brady Hoke

On Devin Gardner...
"It didn't surprise us. His ability, we gave him a lot of snaps obviously, been in the offense enough, knows most of it, I would say, or all of it. Being a receiver, being over there, that's a whole different animal. I think that helped with some development. I think he did a nice job of managing the team. I think we had four drives over 79 yards."

On if Gardner's transition to quarterback was smooth...
"Pretty easy. He fashions himself as a quarterback. He really has made the move to help us as a football team. That tells you a little bit about him and his character and (that) he believes in Michigan."

On why he had Denard Robinson in uniform even though he knew yesterday he probably would not start...
"Because he can help our football team on the sideline. He can coach. He can watch. He can help. We all like to be suited up."

On the play of his defense after Minnesota often started with good field position...
"You hit on a key subject, which was the lack of our special teams being special at all. I thought the defense, we gave a little bit...too much yardage rushing the football. But I thought they had some good stops. I think they played together well. Some crucial third downs. I thought they played well, but we can't give up as many yards as we did rushing the football."

On why he used Thomas Rawls so much today...
"Well, to be honest with you, we planned on doing a little more a week ago and we didn't, for one reason or another. But we wanted to get him involved in the I-back stuff and behind, under center. It kind of suits him."

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Minnesota Players

Minnesota Quarterback Philip Nelson
On the opportunities during the game
“We had opportunities during the game but we just came up short.”

On struggles in the red zone
“It was just something that we need to focus more on in practice and that was definitely a game changer for us. We got down there plenty of times but we could not capitalize.”

On getting the team in rhythm in the first quarter
“Just like any other week we have to be able to play four quarters and not just have spurts. That is something that we are working on every week. “

On attempting to gain momentum during the game
“The defense played great and got us the ball but as an offense we need to be able to capitalize more instead of just getting one touchdown, we need to make more opportunities.”

Minnesota Wide Receiver MarQueis Gray

On Michigan playing tight on the corners
“They had some good corners out there. It was nothing that we had not seen all season. They were making plays on defense. That is something that we need to work on as an offense.”

Minnesota Defensive Back Troy Stoudermire

On Michigan’s third down conversion rate
“It basically has a lot to do with their quarterback and his ability to get out of fire and scramble to make the plays.”

On being surprised that Denard Robinson did not play

“It wasn’t really a surprise because we saw last week that he got hurt but we didn’t know if he was going to play or not. We just had to prepare as if he was going to play and when we saw Gardner out there, he is a really good quarterback also.”

Minnesota Safety Brock Vereen
On this loss compared to last year
“Any loss hurts and to lose in that fashion it is going to hurt badly. So there is no sense of satisfaction. Is there an embarrassment level? No. But at the same time there is nothing to be happy about here.”

Michigan Players

S Jordan Kovacs
On the importance of strong defense to set the tone...
"We knew that we were a little beat up offensively and that we were going to have to come out and play some solid defense. I think at times in the first half, we did a nice job of getting ourselves off the field, and at times in the second half we did the same thing. But at the same time, I think that we didn't do a great job on third and fourth down. That's something that we've got to correct, and hopefully we'll get it corrected by next week."

On retaining the Little Brown Jug ...
"It's always important. It's one of our rivalry games. That's one of those trophy games that you want to win every year, and it's a trophy that you want to keep at Schembechler Hall year in and year out."

CB J.T. Floyd
On if the fake field goal was surprising...
"I think what happened was they snuck a guy on the field. It was a guy that didn't quite make it into the huddle. Most of the time you see them disperse out of the huddle, but he was just standing on the sideline. So it was something that they tried to just sneak by us."

LB Jake Ryan
On the team's confidence in Devin Gardner heading into the game...
"We had confidence in Devin. He played quarterback throughout the week. He was doing really well for us. I think, just coming from that receiver position, I feel like he progressed and knew what he was doing that whole time. He definitely looked good."

On whether it was tough to come into this game with a "championship mentality"....
"We took the same preparation. I don't want to go back on last week, but we didn't communicate well.  That's what a championship defense needs to do. I feel like we did that today."

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