Gallon Sets Two Records; Football Drops Bowl Game to KSU
The University of Michigan football team fell to Kansas State, 31-14, on Saturday (Dec. 28) in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. Freshman quarterback Shane Morris (Warren, Mich./De La Salle), who made his first career start in place of the injured Devin Gardner (Detroit, Mich./Inkster), tallied 239 yards total offense for Michigan, while fifth-year senior safety Thomas Gordon (Detroit, Mich./Cass Technical) led the way with nine tackles.
On the game's opening drive, Kansas State drove 75 yards and took an early seven-point lead after a six-yard strike from Wildcats quarterback Jake Waters to the team's leading receiver, Tyler Lockett, capped off the 14-play scoring drive.
Morris carried the U-M offense deep into opposing territory but was unable to find the end zone. Junior kicker Matt Wile (San Diego, Calif./Francis Parker), who handled the kicking duties in place of fifth-year senior Brendan Gibbons (West Palm Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman), knocked through his 22-yard field goal try to make it 7-3.
On the following possession, the Wildcats once again marched down the field, this time taking just five plays before Waters threw his second touchdown pass of the night, this time to Lockett from 29 yards out. This extended the Kansas State lead to 11 as the first quarter drew to a close.
Another long drive by the Wolverines' offense, during which Morris connected on nine of his 10 passing attempts, saw Wile knock through his second successful kick of the game to make it 14-6 in the second quarter.
For the third consecutive drive, Lockett caught a touchdown pass from Waters, this time on an eight-yard pitch and catch. Lockett accumulated five catches for 63 yards and three touchdowns in the first half after leading the Wildcats with more than 1,100 yards and eight scores during the regular season.
Morris completed 15-of-19 first-half passes for 121 yards, but the Michigan offense was unable to reach the end zone and went into the half down 21-6.
After scoreless drives for each offense to open the second, the Kansas State offense once again entered Michigan territory, but the drive concluded with an unsuccessful field goal from 40 yards away. The U-M offense struggled to respond and was forced to punt on each of the first five possessions of the second half.
The Wolverines defense stepped up in the third frame, as senior/junior linebacker Jake Ryan (Westlake, Ohio/St. Ignatius) forced a fumble that was recovered by sophomore defensive end Mario Ojemudia (Farmington Hills, Mich./Harrison), marking the first turnover of the contest, with less than two minutes remaining in the third.
Kansas State got the ball back and drove down to the U-M five-yard line early in the final quarter, but the Wildcats were stopped there and forced to settle for a 22-yard field goal. This made the score 24-6 with less than 10 minutes remaining in the game.
Later in the quarter, a Morris' pass attempt was intercepted by Dante Barnett and returned 51 yards deep into Michigan territory. Two plays later, the Wildcats extended their lead to 31-6 following a one-yard scoring plunge.
The U-M offense finally found the end zone on its final drive, which featured a 40-yard run by Morris. The scamper was the longest run by Michigan this season. Fifth-year senior running back Fitzgerald Toussaint (Youngstown, Ohio/Liberty) scored the touchdown in his final game, turning the corner from just three yards out. Following a successful two-point conversion attempt, the score was 31-14 with just a minute and a half remaining.
During the last Michigan drive, fifth-year senior receiver Jeremy Gallon (Apopka, Fla./Apopka) set the single-season program record for receiving yardage. He passed Braylon Edwards, whose 1,330 yards in 2004 marked the previous record. Gallon finished his final season with 89 receptions, 1,373 yards and nine scores.