Michigan rebounds with win
Published 6:27 pm Sunday, October 30, 2011
ANN ARBOR — With a bye week after suffering his first defeat as the Michigan football coach, Brady Hoke spoiled the “Boiler Up” from visiting Purdue on Saturday with a 36-14 triumph in a Big Ten Conference contest Saturday.
The often described spoiler-makers started off quickly after the opening kick-off with a five-play scoring drive capped off with a 48-yard pass from junior quarterback Caleb TerBush to another Bush named Gary for a 7-0 advantage. The sophomore receiver had a dozen receptions and none farther than 12 yards previously this season.
“They ran a rocket screen at the right time, because we called a full blitz on defense,” Hoke said “I thought our kids came out ready and focused though.”
Michigan (7-1, 3-1) scored a touchdown on their initial possession for the fifth consecutive game with junior signal caller Denard Robinson rushing from two yards on the 12th play of the drive to tie the score at seven points apiece. It was the seventh straight game Robinson has crossed the goal line by toting the football.
Neither team mounted a threat the rest of the opening quarter and Robinson’s back-up (redshirt freshman Devin Gardner) figured it was the defense’s turn to score as he threw an interception to Purdue on the second play of the second stanza.
TerBush dropped back to pass from the five-yard line into the end zone where he met Wolverine senior defensive tackled Mike Martin, who dropped him for a safety despite being held on the play by a Boilermaker. It was the first two points in football for Michigan in eight seasons as they took the lead for good at 9-7.
“We did a great job regathering after that touchdown and knew we needed to play better,” Martin, said, who recorded two sacks in a game for the first time in his illustrious career. “We’re going to continue to take positive steps as from here on out every game is like playing for the championship of the Big Ten.”
A pair of field goals by sophomore Brendan Gibbons plus all the extra points, along with a two-yard touchdown run by classmate Fitzgerald Toussaint put the lead to 22-7 for the homecoming halftime activities.
For those that missed the Purdue (4-4, 2-2) possession to start the game, the visitors only managed 48 out of the total 119 gained in the first half with the Wolverines walloping 294 yards with 138 on the ground and 156 via the passing of Robinson. Toussaint had 75 yards on nine carries for an 8.3 average in what turned out to be his breakout performance.
Toussant reached a career high in both carries (20) and yards (170) gained, but his highlight came with just under three minutes left in the third quarter as he zigged and zagged then sprinted his way for 59 yards for a touchdown and Gibbons made it 29-7 in favor of Michigan.
“I saw daylight and when I saw a crease it was time to take off like a cannon,” Toussaint said. “Every team faces adversity, but it is how you respond to it and after two weeks we were prepared for this game.”
Senior Michael Shaw showed his sprinter’s speed by dashing 37 yards early in the fourth quarter for the final score by the victors and Gibbons converted once again for a 36-7 margin.
“When you rush for 360 yards, you can determine time of possession in a football game,” Hoke said.
The score remained the same until 15 seconds before the final whistle blew when Purdue senior quarterback Robert Marve found sophomore O.J. Ross in the end zone with a 19-yard completion.
“They did a good job spreading the ball around on rushes and then hit some long passes a couple of times that impacted the game,” Purdue coach Danny Hope said. “We have been very strong running the ball and didn’t run the ball very well in this game, because we didn’t execute very well.”
Purdue did win the penalty yardage with an 86-51 margin, but the Wolverines controlled almost every other statistic including yards (535-311) and possession (36:25-23:35) time.