Even with Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson sidelined with an elbow injury, Minnesota fell to the Wolverines Saturday, 35-13, thanks in large part to coaching miscues from head coach Jerry Kill and the rest of the staff.
Minnesota left points on the board on three occasions in the second half. In the third quarter, trailing 14-7, Kill called for a fake field goal instead of attempting the 37-yarder. The fake was unsuccessful, Minnesota scored zero points and Michigan promptly drove for a touchdown on the following possession.
On two possessions in the fourth quarter, the Golden Gophers had a first-and-goal inside the Michigan 5-yard line. On both possessions, Minnesota settled for field goals.
SB Nation's Minnesota Golden Gophers blog, The Daily Gopher, admits that execution was an issue Saturday, but the play calling of Kill didn't help their cause.
This game, in my opinion, was the worst coaching performance by Kill and company. Game plan was solid and you cant' fault him for execution issues. But repeated failures on key short-yardage situations and an abysmal fake field goal call cost the Gophers a chance for this to be a one-possession game late in the fourth quarter.
Minnesota falls to 5-4, 1-4 in the conference following the loss. They need only one more win in their remaining three games to become bowl eligible. Their best chance for a victory could come next Saturday against Illinois, who is winless in the Big Ten.