WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Michigan jumped out to a 28-10 lead with a strong performance of its own and a bit of help from Purdue as well. Here's a breakdown of what has happened.
Stat of the half: 28 points.
It was an scoring show for Michigan -- one touchdown through the air and three on the ground (including one from the Wolverines' special teams). The huge scoring output is only a good thing for Michigan and coach Brady Hoke. Under Hoke, the Wolverines are 13-0 when they score 20+ points.
Player of the half: Denard Robinson. In his final conference opener of his Michigan career, he decided to remind Big Ten teams why people call him Shoelace. The senior rushed 14 times for 84 yards. And despite the hits he took, he didn't have to take a single play off. On top of that, his arm looked stronger and he proved that he can, in fact, throw away a pass (which he had assured the media of earlier last week). He completed 6 of 8 passes for 86 yards.
What's working for Michigan: Offense, mostly. Defense, mostly. Special teams, mostly.
Offensively, Michigan seemed to be clicking on most cylinders. The Wolverines chose to run the ball mainly and pass selectively, though when it was necessary for Robinson to pass, he came through with big plays. Between big completions to Roy Roundtree, Devin Funchess and a touchdown throw to Devin Gardner, Robinson's arm looked solid (though, against a subpar defense).
Defensively, Jake Ryan (among a few others) came up huge for Michigan. Ryan was in beast mode from the first play, making hit after hit and coming up with a big 11-yard sack that Caleb TerBush will have a hard time forgetting. But on the Boilermakers' final drive, they missed tackles and misread plays, allowing Purdue to reach the end zone and head into halftime with the momentum.
Yes, kicker Brendan Gibbons missed a 40-yard field goal, but the kickoff team recovered a fumble midway through the second quarter. And Gibbons made four PAT's. That's 10 points for the special teams in one half.