BY CHRIS ZADOROZNY, Staff Reporter
Following a heartbreaking loss to rival Michigan State two weeks ago and a bye last week, the Michigan Wolverines came out strong in their Homecoming game against the Purdue Boilermakers.
It was a bit of a slow start for the Wolverines as they allowed a touchdown on the first drive of the game.
After that, it was Michigan Wolverines football all game long. The Wolverines scored 36 unanswered points after the first score by the Boilermakers and didn’t look back. Purdue quarterback Caleb TerBush threw a 48 yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Gary Brush as it looked like the Michigan defense was going to have another bad game. That wasn’t the case as the defense really perked up and played one of the better games of the season.
Star quarterback Denard Robinson led the way for the offense early and then running back Fitzgerald Toussaint took the game over on a career day. Robinson ran two yards into the endzone for the touchdown to tie the game after 12 plays amassing 70 yards and six minutes of clock time.
The rest of the first quarter was pretty quiet with two punts from the Boilermakers and a Robinson interception. The Wolverines ended the first quarter with the ball started the second quarter with a 49 yard pass to wide receiver Roy Roundtree.
Unfortunately on the following play, backup quarterback Devin Gardner was in the game to shake the offense up and confuse the Boilermaker defense and threw an interception right into the hands of Josh Johnson at the Purdue five yard line.
Deep in their own territory off of an interception, the Boilermakers actually had the momentum, but after the next play, Michigan had changed the dynamic of the game. Senior defensive lineman Mike Martin made a great play, getting an early jump on the snap and breaking through the offensive line to sack TerBush in the endzone for a safety.
Michigan received possession after the safety and after five plays, kicker Brandon Gibbons put up a 37 yard field goal for a 12-7 lead. So an interception thrown by Gardner gave the Wolverines five points. Backup quarterback Robert Marve for Purdue came into the game, which was the plan according to head coach Danny Hope and he proved no different than TerBush.
His fourth pass attempt of the game was turned into an interception by Courtney Avery, which the Wolverines once again turned into points. After four plays, Toussaint ran two yards into the endzone, even while being tackled by his facemask. The penalty would be enforced on the kick. The Wolverines enhanced their lead to 19-7.
Marve started the Purdue drive but it was quickly a three and out which gave the Wolverines the ball for the final minutes of the first half. Coach Brady Hoke wasn’t happy with the 22 yard field goal they kicked at the end of the quarter to put their lead even larger to 22-7.
The third quarter is where the game was out of reach for the Boilermakers. Even though the first drive of the second half for Michigan, Purdue couldn’t capitalize on the opportunity they received to shorten the lead. They had to punt after 10 plays, gaining 50 yards in four and a half minutes. The Wolverines would make sure they wouldn’t come closer to shortening the lead. Toussaint took the game into his hands, well actually it was the ball and sprinted 59 yards for a touchdown for a 29-7 lead.
The Michigan defense was playing great and didn’t stop even with a 22 point lead. They held the Boilermakers to 28 yards following the Toussaint touchdown and running back Michael Shaw wanted to make his presence known and he did with a 37 yard touchdown of his own to put the Wolverines up 36-7.
That would be the final score for the Wolverines and as the game went on, more and more freshman and rookies entered the game for the Wolverines defense and gave up a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, something that Coach Hoke wasn’t too happy with either. Marve put up a 19 yard pass to O.J. Ross to finish the game.
The Wolverine put up 535 yards of offense while only allowing 311 to the Purdue offense. The Michigan defense also provided a huge boost with the safety by Martin and interception by Avery. Toussaint’s career day consisted of 170 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns. Hoke is not saying who will start next week against Iowa as practice will determine that on Tuesday.
As the Wolverines advance to 7-1 and 3-1 in the Big Ten, they now are tied for first in the Big Ten Legends division with Michigan State and Nebraska. Their next game is Saturday, November 5 against the Iowa Hawkeyes at 12pm on ESPN as they look for their eighth win of the season and fourth in the Big Ten.