Saturday, July 20, 2024

No. 2 Michigan looks to keep foot on gas vs. Minnesota

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh hopes great chemistry can defy gravity.

Harbaugh is pleased with the state of his program from top to bottom. It’s hard to argue, considering the Wolverines are undefeated, ranked No. 2 and have five easy wins to their credit. They will face unranked Minnesota in Minneapolis on Saturday night.

Michigan (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) easily passed its first road test last weekend, crushing Nebraska 45-7. The Wolverines have scored at least 30 points in each game while allowing a total of just 30 points. The Cornhuskers didn’t score until late in the fourth quarter after Michigan had gone deep into its bench.

“When things are scary good, that’s where you want to be,” Harbaugh said. “That’s who you want to be with and how you want to be doing things.”

However, Harbaugh knows every opponent will be trying to knock his team off its perch.

“The law of averages say it’s going to catch up to you, to see if you can defy Sir Isaac Newton’s laws of gravity,” he said. “What goes up must come down, and the gravitational force of the earth is tremendous. So are some of the forces against a football team, things that are set there to divide a football team. The ones that aren’t divided are the ones playing in the playoffs and eventually champions.”

Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy has surpassed the 1,000-passing-yard mark this season while throwing for 10 touchdowns. He connected with Roman Wilson for two scores against Nebraska and also rushed for a touchdown.

“He’s very consistent in what he does,” Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck said. “You can tell he’s an overachiever. He’s the ultimate competitor. But not only that, he connects with the football team.”

Blake Corum, Michigan’s top running back, is averaging 5.7 yards per carry and has scored nine times.

The Golden Gophers (3-2, 1-1) will need to improve dramatically to pull off an upset. They have lost to the Wolverines in 25 of the teams’ past 27 meetings.

Minnesota recorded an unimpressive 35-24 nonconference win over Louisiana last Saturday. The previous week, the Golden Gophers squandered a 21-point, fourth-quarter lead and lost in overtime to Northwestern.

Golden Gophers quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis has completed 58.7 percent of his passes with five touchdowns. He also has been picked off four times.

Freshman running back Darius Taylor, the Big Ten’s leading rusher, missed the Louisiana game with a leg injury. He rushed for 198 yards and two touchdowns against the Wildcats. Redshirt freshman Zach Evans picked up the slack with 85 rushing yards and a touchdown against the Ragin’ Cajuns.

Taylor’s status for this week’s game was undetermined. The Gophers can use all the help they can get against the juggernaut that is Michigan.

“Sometimes you can’t tell who’s in the game (for the Wolverines) and who just made that play because no one guy is the star,” Fleck said. “They’re all the stars that make up their team, and that’s hard to do. That’s hard to create. And I think (Harbaugh has) done a great job of creating, I think, one of the best teams in the country.”

–Field Level Media

Reportng - Field Level Media
Reportng - Field Level Media
Field Level Media features breaking news & coverage of 7,000+ annual events from a network of more than 200 professional journalists across North America.
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