September 27, 2014
Michigan quarterback Shane Morris (7) throws a pass in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game against Minnesota in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)
Tony Ding

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) Michigan Stadium hasn't been kind to the Minnesota football program over the years, not even during coach Jerry Kill's recent rebuilding project. That changed Saturday, when the Golden Gophers rolled to a 30-14 win over Michigan in front of 102,926 mostly frustrated Wolverines fans.

In fact, Michigan (2-2, 0-1 Big Ten) beat the Golden Gophers in 22 of their last 23 meetings, regardless of locale. So you can forgive the Golden Gophers (4-1, 1-0) for forgetting what they're supposed to do after winning the nation's oldest trophy game: Steal back the Little Brown Jug from the Wolverines' bench.

''I was on the field and I looked over and saw it,'' said junior offensive lineman Joe Bjorklund. ''I ran over and was trying to get my teammates to come over, but they were celebrating. So I went over and grabbed it.''

In Minnesota's first visit to the Big House under Kill in 2011, the Gophers were rolled 58-0. Last season, with Kill back in Minneapolis dealing with health issues, Michigan won 42-13.

''We watched film of that (2011 game) and it was like night and day the difference between what it's like now,'' said senior defensive tackle Cameron Botticelli, who had a sack and two tackles. ''Words cannot describe how it feels to go from 58-0 then to winning (Saturday).''

Minnesota quarterback Mitch Leidner returned after missing last week's win against San Jose State with an injury to run for a touchdown and pass for another while completing 14 of 22 passes for 167 yards. But it was a pair of third-quarter defensive plays that gave the Golden Gophers control of the game.

De'Vondre Campbell returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown after defensive end Theiren Cockran tipped a Shane Morris pass at the line of scrimmage. On the Wolverines' next possession, Cockran recovered a Morris fumble at the Michigan 30-yard-line and the Golden Gophers capitalized five plays later with a 1-yard TD pass from Leidner to Maxx Williams that gave Minnesota a 27-7 lead with 2:52 left in the third quarter.

''I broke with (Michigan receiver Devin) Funchess and was basically thinking `tackle' when I saw the ball tipped,'' Campbell said of the interception. ''It floated and I thought if I got it, I could score because no one was going to be able to catch me.''

Michigan also had a difficult time tackling Minnesota senior running back David Cobb. Cobb accounted for 161 of Minnesota's 229 total yards in the first half, which ended with the first of three field goals by Ryan Santoso to give the Golden Gophers a 10-7 lead. Cobb finished with 183 yards rushing on 32 carries, just missing his third 200-yard performance of the season.

Cobb turned a short screen pass into a 33-yard gain to set up Minnesota's first score, a 10-yard rollout run by Leidner with 8:00 left in the second quarter that tied the game at 7-7. He averaged 5.7 yards per carry against a Michigan defense that entered the game ranked ninth in the NCAA in rushing defense, allowing 80.3 yards per game.

''When you have a good horse, you ride him and that's what we did today,'' Kill said. ''He's playing at a high level.''

Michigan, meanwhile, continued to struggle on offense. Morris made his second career start at quarterback for the Wolverines, who had failed to score an offensive touchdown in losses to Notre Dame and Utah with fifth-year senior Devin Gardner under center.

The sophomore completed 7 of 19 passes for 49 yards before being injured and replaced. Michigan had just 106 yards of total offense and Morris had thrown eight consecutive incomplete passes when Gardner entered the game with 11:17 left in the fourth quarter. Gardner led the Wolverines on 74-yard scoring drive in his first action, scoring himself on a 3-yard run to pull the Wolverines within 30-14 with 7:27 remaining in the game.

Michigan coach Brady Hoke stood by his decision to start Morris.

''Sometimes we want to point the finger at one guy because he's the quarterback and I don't think that's fair,'' Hoke said. ''We have to do a better job with some protection things - the pocket closed a couple times on him - and the interception was a tipped ball at the line of scrimmage that got knocked up into the air.''

De'Veon Smith led Michigan with 57 yards rushing, including a 10-yard touchdown run to open the scoring.

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