If and when Minnesota can get back to being competitive in the Big Ten, the Gophers can use Saturday's game as a motivational tool.
Hopefully for them, they'll remember this as rock bottom. Because Michigan blew the doors off Jerry Kill's team in a 58-0 humiliation at the Big House. The Wolverines have dominated this Little Brown Jug series for the last 40 years, but Saturday's margin of victory was the largest in the long-running semi-rivalry. It was the fifth-largest win in Michigan history, and that's a lot of history there.
Brady Hoke spent a few extra seconds saying something to Kill in the postgame handshake at midfield. Presumably, Hoke told Kill to keep his head up or something along those lines. This has to be a dispiriting time for everyone associated with the Gophers, whose rebuilding project appears even more daunting that we anticipated.
But how about Michigan? The Wolverines are now 5-0, and they seem to be getting better by the week. Denard Robinson looked much better as a passer, avoiding any interceptions, and the running backs contributed heavily to the offensive success (580 total yards, 363 on the ground). The defense pitched a shutout, and even if Minnesota is as wretched as it looks, a shutout in Big Ten play is still something to brag about (and it was Michigan's first goose egg since 2007).
Hoke's team has to have a lot of confidence now heading into its first road game against Northwestern this week. Perhaps this year's Michigan really is different than the Maize and Blue that got off to hot starts under Rich Rodriguez.
Wolverines fans have lots of reasons for optimism now. Minnesota fans would like a straw to grasp onto right about now.