There’s too many easy Halloween puns for this one to even make an attempt.

In the Michigan football team’s 36-14 win over Purdue on Saturday, Michigan redshirt junior safety Jordan Kovacs watched from the sidelines, nursing a knee injury he suffered in practice earlier in the week.

It was an unexpected sight. Kovacs’s injury hadn’t been released to the media until an hour before kickoff.

During the team’s practice Tuesday, which was open to the media, it appeared that Kovacs, No. 32, was participating.

No. 32 was indeed playing. But Kovacs was not.

According to sources, Michigan coach Brady Hoke had redshirt junior safety Matt Cavanaugh, normally No. 28, dress as No. 32. This wasn’t an early Halloween costume. This was practice.

It’s unsure whether Cavanaugh’s number switch was to hide the Kovacs injury or to impersonate Purdue starting safety Albert Evans, who wears No. 32, on the scout team.

Either way, when asked about injuries throughout the week, Hoke remained tight-lipped on the situation, continually saying his team was healthy. He didn’t want people to know about Kovacs — and for good reason.

Kovacs has been a valuable piece to the defense’s puzzle this year — without him, Michigan would be in big trouble.

Or not.

Against the Boilermakers, senior cornerback Troy Woolfolk moved to safety in place of Kovacs and freshman Blake Countess started at left cornerback.

Woolfolk has played safety before — he made six starts at the position as a junior in 2009. Regardless, Hoke didn’t want Kovacs’s injury to be an excuse.

“The expectations are for the position so if you’re in there, there’s a way we expect you to play,” Hoke said.

On the first drive of the game, the defense looked shaky, allowing Purdue to score on a 48-yard pass from Caleb TerBush to sophomore receiver Gary Bush.

Bush beat Countess to the inside, then sprinted past Woolfolk and into the endzone.

Kovacs’s absence was obvious.

But from there, Countess and Woolfolk played a big part in putting the Purdue offense in lockdown — the Boilermakers finished with just 311 yards of total offense — 48 of which came on the final drive of the game against the Michigan backup players.

“Troy’s got some make-up speed that other guys don’t have, and that’s good,” Hoke said. “They tried to tempo us a little bit, so he did a good job of getting us in and out of what we need to be looking like back there.”

Countess, who has replaced Woolfolk at cornerback several times this season, now may have his chance to permanently claim the starting position with Kovacs out. Hoke also said he was planning on moving Woolfolk to safety anyway, which seemed to be a move motivated by Countess’s play.

“With the emergence of how Blake’s been playing it’s worth — I always believe you put your best players on the field and Troy’s probably in the top 11, 12, 13 guys on defense,” Hoke said.

Hoke said Kovacs will return at some point this season, but his status for next weekend’s matchup against Iowa is uncertain.

One thing is certain though: If Cavanaugh needed a Halloween costume, he’s got one now.

A SCARY SIGHT: Throughout the game, Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges continued to use junior quarterback Denard Robinson in several ways.

Robinson lined up at wide receiver and running back multiple times, with sophomore quarterback Devin Gardner under center.

Oftentimes, Gardner faked the pitch to Robinson, then pitched it to the running back or ran it himself. Other times, Gardner handed it off to Robinson, who would run or hand it to the running back.

With both quarterbacks in the game, the possibilities were endless.

According to Purdue linebacker Joe Holland, it’s not a pleasant sight seeing both Robinson and Gardner on the field.

“I hate seeing Denard at wide receiver,” he said. “You know he’s gonna move, you know he’s gonna motion one way or the other. It just gives you that extra weapon to worry about.

“He makes defense difficult because he’s such a valuable weapon for their offense. You can put him anywhere on the field.”

ROCKET MAN: Before the game started, there was a man flying above Michigan Stadium.

Literally, flying.

Attached to a jet pack, the Superman-wannabe flew into the stadium. At first, it appeared that he was out of control and about to take a dangerous spill into the student section.

But he knew what he was doing all along. He calmly jetted away from the stands and toward the field, landing right in the middle of the block ‘M’.

And it’s a good thing he made a safe landing inside the stadium. He had a present for the referees — the game ball.

INJURY UPDATE: After Saturday’s game, Kovacs isn’t the only player nursing an injury.

Redshirt junior offensive lineman Ricky Barnum, who has already missed time this season because of an ankle injury, had to leave the game because of what appeared to be another ankle injury.

His status remains unclear.

Redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Taylor Lewan injured his leg during the game, and his status is unclear as well.

“Taylor, his leg hurts,” Hoke said. “That’s what I know right now.”

Hoke also revealed that junior running back Vincent Smith had been playing with an ankle injury.

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