ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Michigan has rediscovered tight end Devin Funchess.
The sophomore set career highs with seven receptions and 151 yards receiving on Saturday against Minnesota. He caught a 24-yard, go-ahead touchdown pass late in the first half and made some more catches in the second half to help the Wolverines pull away and beat the Golden Gophers 42-13.
Funchess had a total of just eight catches for 145 yards and a score in Michigan's first four games, and insisted he was patient while waiting to produce in ways that would show up in the box score.
"I just wait until my number gets called," he said. "And then once it gets called, I just try to make the big play to try to help the team so we can ultimately get to the Big Ten championship."
The Wolverines (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) can take another step toward their quest to win a conference championship for the first time in 2004 by beating Penn State (3-2, 0-1) on the road Saturday, a week after the Nittany Lions lost by 20 points at Indiana.
Michigan moved up one spot, to No. 18, on Sunday in The Associated Press college football poll.
The 6-foot-4, 235-pound Funchess seems suited to be a go-to target for Devin Gardner. He completed more than half of his passes against Minnesota to Funchess as part of a game plan that included a lot of handoffs to running backs in the hopes of cutting down turnovers.
Gardner, though, wasn't sure throwing to Funchess so often was a sign of things to come.
"Whatever the offense needs," Gardner said. "If it calls for me to throw it to Devin Funchess 17 times in a game or to Jeremy Gallon 17 times or for me to throw 17 passes in total.
"Whatever we need during that day, on that given day, we're going to do it."
Michigan is listed as a tight end, but is versatile enough that he can line up in the slot or out wide as he did at times against the Gophers.