1st quarter: Michigan coach Brady Hoke has to like what he saw out of his team in the early going at Purdue.
After the Michigan defense forced a three-and-out on the first possession of the game, the Wolverines took the ball and proceeded to go on their longest drive of the season. Seventeen plays, 78 yards and 8:48 of game time later, they finished it in the endzone, with redshirt junior running back Fitzgerald Toussaint punching it in from one yard out to put Michigan up 7-0.
The drive was a continuation of the second half of the Notre Dame game, with Michigan relying on its offensive line and ground game. Fourteen of the 17 plays were runs.
The Wolverines were poised to score again as the quarter expired, thanks to a 38-yard run by senior quarterback Denard Robinson after another three-and-out by the Purdue offense.
2nd quarter: The Wolverines ended their best half of the year with a 28-10 lead, adding to their lead despite a costly mistake.
Sophomore cornerback Raymon Taylor extended the Michigan lead early in the second quarter with an interception return for a touchdown off a tipped ball from a Purdue receiver. Leading 21-0, Michigan recovered a fumble on the kickoff, but Brendan Gibbons’ field-goal attempt clanked off the crossbar.
The Boilermakers followed with a 50-yard drive for a field goal to cut into the lead 21-3. On its next drive, Michigan drove the ball 73-yards and capped the drive with a 23-yard touchdown pass from Robinson to redshirt junior wide receiver Devin Gardner.
After Purdue punted, linebacker Robert Maci forced a fumble on an exchange between Robinson and senior running back Vincent Smith, and the Boilermakers recovered. They ended the half with a four-yard slant from Caleb TerBush to O.J. Ross for a touchdown, to head to the locker room down 28-10.
3rd quarter: It seems like just a matter of time before freshman tailback Dennis Norfleet breaks a kickoff return for a touchdown. He opened the second half with a 38-yard return that was a block or two away from going the distance.
The Wolverines’ opening drive was a far cry from the success Michigan had in the first half. After earning a first down with two Robinson scampers, the Wolverines went three-and-out and sophomore punter Matt Wile launched a punt that landed at the Purdue 21-yard line.
The Boilermakers found a quick first down before having to punt the ball back to Michigan. Starting at their own 27-yard line following the punt, the Wolverines got back to its first-half success.
Robinson engineered an eight-play drive down to the Purdue 12-yard line, where Gibbons added a chip shot field goal with just over four minutes remaining to give Michigan a 31-10 lead.
Purdue went three-and-out to give Michigan the ball again. A false start put the Wolverines on their own six-yard line. Michigan moved out to the 27 before junior punter Will Hagerup boomed a punt 57 yards.
The Michigan defense, stout all afternoon, started to leave holes open in the next drive when backup quarterback Robert Marve entered the game.
After first-down passes of 20 and 13 yards, Marve had Purdue in a third-and-one at the Michigan 25-yard line as the third quarter came to a close.
With Purdue threatening as the final quarter began, the Michigan defense answered the call. Despite an unnecessary roughness call on defensive tackle Quinton Washington, the Wolverines suffocated the Boilermakers’ passing game and forced them to settle for a field goal, cutting the score to 31-13.
But Michigan answered right back with a field goal of its own, as Gibbons made his second straight attempt, this time from 41 yards out. He was set up by an electrifying 59-yard run by Robinson, who burst through the middle of the Purdue defense and found the open field. The drive stalled from there, but Gibbons’ successful kick restored the Wolverines’ lead at 34-13. And with the Boilermakers in desperation mode on their next drive, a tipped pass by Marve landed in the hands of redshirt junior safety Thomas Gordon for the defense’s second interception of the day.
From there, Michigan was content to grind out the clock, though another Gibbons field goal and a seven-yard touchdown run by Thomas Rawls made the final deficit 44-13. The Wolverines are now 1-0 in the Big Ten.[View the story “Michigan battles Purdue in its Big Ten opener” on Storify]