Michigan started its Big Ten schedule with a 42-13 win against Minnesota. It wasn’t quite the 58-0 victory of two seasons ago, but it keeps Brady Hoke undefeated in the Big House and gave the Wolverines a bit of an offensive identity as they prepare to travel for its first conference road next weekend against Penn State.
Here are three players who earned themselves helmet stickers in this win for the Wolverines.
WR Devin Funchess: Yes, wide receiver Devin Funchess is getting a helmet sticker this weekend. Through four games as a tight end, Funchess had accounted for just one touchdown and 145 yards on eight receptions. Against Minnesota, he decided to one-up himself by basically topping all those stats in four quarters. Funchess recorded one touchdown and 151 yards on seven catches and posed a mismatch constantly for Gopher defensive backs. Because he was such a threat that required attention, it allowed other receivers like Jehu Chesson to get open.
RB Fitzgerald Toussaint: Toussaint rushed for two touchdowns and 78 yards against the Gophers. He averaged 4.6 yards per carry and had just one of his 17 carries result in no gain or negative yardage. The Wolverines relied heavily on Toussaint and the running game to open up the pass game, which they did. Freshman Derrick Green also played well and deserves noting in this category since his 10 carries took a bit of pressure off Toussaint. However, half of Green’s carries went for no gain or negative yardage -- that's not good. But as a unit, Toussaint and Green provide a good one-two punch for Michigan at the running back position, and through the rest of the Big Ten season, if they continue to grow, they could be very, very effective for the Wolverines.
QB Devin Gardner: It wasn’t his most spectacular game statistically, but if there were anyone on this team who needed to put together a solid performance for a confidence boost, it was Gardner. And no, he didn’t attempt a pass the entire first quarter, but by the time halftime came around, Gardner began looking like his old self. He finished the day 13-of-17 for 235 yards and one touchdown, but most importantly he didn’t throw a single interception. He was also smart with his feet, taking off seven times for 17 yards and one touchdown.
Honorable mention: CB Blake Countess: Yes, he had a huge 72-yard interception that he returned for a touchdown, but the Wolverines were already ahead 35-13 in the fourth quarter when that happened. Outside of that pick-six, he had just three tackles and one pass breakup the whole game. If we were picking the three best plays of the game, he’d get one, but a helmet sticker is for a performance, not a play.