For those that were able to see the game through the standard definition AggieVision feed online, the Golden Gophers powered their way in the trenches to a 44-21 victory to start the 2013 season off 2-0. It wasn't necessarily a perfect performance, though Minnesota did what a B1G team should on the road against a severely talent deficient foe.
Much like the start of the UNLV game, the Gopher offense struggled to find any rhythm. It was the defense leading the charge in the early going, forcing 3 straight Aggie three and outs while limiting NMST to just 119 first half yards. The Aggies would go on to score 2 second half touchdowns with the game mostly in hand, something that will no doubt get picked up in film study by the Gopher defensive coaching staff.
The offensive line finally came alive in the second quarter, as the Gophers punished NMST on the ground. Between David Cobb and Rodrick Williams, Jr., Minnesota bulldozed their way to 163 first half rushing yards on 6.8 per carry and 2 TDs. In total, the Gophers would rush for 342 yards on 43 carries for 8.0 yards per rush, the total and YPR stats both highs for Minnesota under Jerry Kill. Philip Nelson was able to hit Derrick Engel for a big gain on a play action post for 48 yards, something the Gophers were unable to accomplish in the passing game last week.
Special teams were, again, outstanding. Chris Hawthorne went 2/2 on 1st half field goals, including a 45 yarder, while Marcus Jones raced into the end zone for a second consecutive game -- this time reaching paydirt on a 65 yard punt return. Aaron Hill would add a late scoop and score off an Aggie fumble, marking the second straight week Minnesota produced special teams and defensive touchdowns.
The news wasn't all positive from Las Cruces. Briean Boddy-Calhoun went down with an injury early in the 1st quarter, while Maxx Williams was reportedly carted off the field at the half. Maxx's issues were apparently hydration related, as he came back in the second half to catch a key 17 yard reception on a scoring drive that put Minnesota up 37-14 with 8:33 remaining in the 4th quarter. The defense, despite a turnover for a score and two 4th down stops, allowed NMST too many yards in the second half and let the Aggies believe they had a chance in the game (or maybe just the AggieVision commentators).
In all, it was a predictable road beatdown -- much like one would expect from a B1G foe visiting the historically worst FBS program. Lots of areas for improvement - passing offense, namely - though several points of contention from last week were cleaned up, notably: offensive line play, defense against the run.
Your Golden Gophers are 2-0 after two straight blowout victories. How are you feeling, Gopher Nation?
More from The Daily Gopher:
- College Football Saturday OPEN THREAD and a few Gameday Links
- Rival Blogger Q&A (now with Rival Beat Writer): Teddy Feinberg of Las Cruces Sun-News
- Minnesota Football: New Mexico State Preview - The Gophers Are Playing Wile E Coyote
- Minnesota Football: Depth Chart and Injury Report for NMST
- Sunny Side of the Stadium: Settling in Week 1