ANN ARBOR, MICH. – Gophers coach Jerry Kill wasn’t feeling well Friday and remained in Minnesota while the team flew to Michigan for Saturday’s game. He had hoped to get there in time for kickoff but suffered another epileptic seizure Saturday morning.
Rebecca Kill, the coach’s wife, sent a test message to defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys, asking him to read it to the team. It said, in part, “So sorry we can’t be there. Make us proud.”
The Gophers tried. Without Kill, and with quarterback Philip Nelson benched in favor of Mitch Leidner, they tried to bring home the Little Brown Jug.
But Michigan wouldn’t let it happen.
After a closely contested first two quarters, the Wolverines scored four second-half touchdowns to pull away for a 42-13 victory before an announced crowd of 111,079 at Michigan Stadium.
The Gophers (4-2, 0-2 Big Ten) will have a bye week next week before playing at Northwestern on Oct. 19.
Michigan (5-0, 1-0) claimed the Little Brown Jug for the 22nd time in 23 years.
The Gophers had no answer fro Michigan tight end Devin Funchess, who had seven catches for 151 yards and a touchdown.
Michigan opened the second half with a 75-yard touchdown drive, capped by Derrick Green’s two-yard run.
The Gophers answered with a 44-yard field goal from Chris Hawthorne, trimming the lead to 21-10. But Michigan came right back down the field with another 75-yard touchdown drive. Fitz Touissant’s 12-yard run made it 28-10.
Hawthorne added a 27-yard field goal, trimming the lead to 28-13 with 10:07 remaining, before Michigan added two touchdowns late.