The Gophers took a 16-14 lead into halftime against Michigan.
They outgained the Wolverines 256-145 and committed zero turnovers, while Michigan had two. Gophers tight end Brandon Lingen was a standout, with three catches for 85 yards.
On Michigan’s first drive, Jake Rudock tried an ill-advised shuffle pass. Linebacker De’Vondre Campbell tipped it to Briean Boddy-Calhoun for an interception.
The Gophers took over at the Michigan 49-yard line and moved into the red zone when Lingen made an unusual 31-yard catch. Lingen was double covered, but he fell down to catch Leidner’s pass as the defenders ran past him.
After a Michigan penalty, the Gophers had third-and-goal from the 2-yard line. Tracy Claeys took his second timeout of the half. It looked like he might give the offense two plays to get a touchdown. But the Gophers tried running Shannon Brooks to the right, and he got tackled for a three-yard loss.
The Gophers settled for an 23-yard field goal by Ryan Santoso.
Jabrill Peppers returned the ensuing kickoff 43 yards, spring-boarding Michigan to a touchdown. Fullback Joe Kerridge capped the quick drive with a 1-yard run.
Michigan’s defense forced the Gophers to go three-and out on their next drive, and Peter Mortell hit a low punt. Peppers got a running start and returned it 41 yards, right back to the line of scrimmage, as the Minnesota 29.
Four plays later, Rudock hit Jehu Chesson with a 13-yard touchdown pass.
The Gophers came back with a 30-yard field goal from Santoso – a second trip to the red zone that resulted in just a field goal.
But after forcing Michigan to punt, the Gophers made two big plays. Rodney Smith broke free for a 23-yard run, and then Leidner found 6-5 freshman Rashad Still for a touchdown. Still caught the ball at about the 25-yard line, going over cornerback Jeremy Clark to make the catch. Still pulled it down and deked safety Jarrod Wilson on his way to the end zone.
The Gophers weren’t done. Cornerback Eric Murray blitzed and stripped Rudock of the ball, recovering the fumble at mid-field.
Lingen made another great catch, this time on a ball that went right through safety Dymonte Thomas’ hands. That play went for a 39-yard gain.
Santoso hit a 32-yard field goal as time expired on the first half.