No. 18 Michigan dominates Minnesota in Season Opener

The No. 18-ranked University of Michigan football team opened the 2020 season with a 49-24 victory over No. 21 Minnesota on Saturday night (Oct. 24) at TCF Bank Stadium behind 481 yards of total offense.

With the win, the Wolverines (1-0) keep the Little Brown Jug for the third consecutive season and the 73rd time in program history.

The Wolverines featured a balanced offensive attack with 225 yards in the air and 256 yards on the ground. Junior quarterback Joe Milton made his first career start, completing 15 of 22 passes for 225 yards, with two touchdowns (one passing, one rushing) and adding career highs in carries (eight) and rushing yards (52).

Junior Hassan Haskins scored touchdowns on consecutive Michigan possessions and rushed for a team-best 82-yards — including a 66-yard run in the third quarter — while junior Ronnie Bell led the Wolverines with 74 receiving yards.

The U-M defense had five sacks with three straight in the fourth quarter as Kwity Paye took down Golden Gopher quarterback Tanner Morgan on two occasions. Senior Josh Ross led the defense with nine tackles on the evening, while Brad Hawkins and Michael Barrett added seven each.

The Wolverines’ 35-point first half was its highest output since scoring 35 against Western Michigan in 2018, and was all U-M needed to solidify its season-opening victory over Minnesota.

Michigan used a combined 0:26 to score three touchdowns in the first quarter, starting with a career-best 70-yard rush from Zach Charbonnet to knot the game at 7 with 12:33 remaining in the quarter. With just over seven minutes to play in the opening stanza, Barrett sacked Morgan and the ball popped up in the air and it landed in the hands of Donovan Jeter, who rumbled 15 yards for a TD to put U-M up, 14-7.

The Wolverines tacked on one final touchdown with 15 ticks left on the first-quarter clock, when Milton connected with Ben Mason, who found pay dirt on a nine-yard pass to extend the Michigan lead to 21-10.

The Golden Gophers opened the scoring in the second quarter, but U-M jumped ahead, 35-17, on back-to-back touchdowns from Haskins. He scored his first TD of the season on a four-yard run with under five minutes left in the quarter to give the Wolverines a 27-17 advantage. His second TD, another four-yard run, came with 1:00 to play in the half to lift the U-M lead to 35-17.

For the third straight quarter, the Golden Gophers were the first to light up the scoreboard, but with 5:20 left, Michigan brought its lead back up to 18 (42-24) on a two-yard TD run from Milton to cap off a nine play, 68-yard drive.

Haskins closed out the third quarter with a 66-yard run that led to a Chris Evans fourth-quarter touchdown for the Maize and Blue that capped the night’s scoring with 13:51 remaining in the game.

With more than seven minutes left to play, the U-M defense made three straight sacks and kept Minnesota off the board in its final possession to secure the win.

Michigan will play its home opener next Saturday (Oct. 31) when it and in-state rival Michigan State battle for the Paul Bunyan Trophy. The game is scheduled for noon kickoff at Michigan Stadium.