The Gophers closed the non-conference portion of their schedule and moved to 3-1 on the season with a 24-7- win over the Spartans of San Jose State. Chris Streveler got the first start of his career, with Mitch Leidner sidelined due to an injury, and showed us he can run the ball, combining with David Cobb for 368 yards rushing. This was a dominating rushing attack that lead the Gophers to the win.
First...the good. The Gophers rushed for a lot of yards today, 387 to be exact. David Cobb had a really nice game, once again, with 207 yards on 34 carries, giving him a 6.1 per carry average for those of you mathematically challenged; and he tacked on 2 touchdowns as well. Cobb was the only running back to carry the ball in the first half. Streveler also ran the ball well picking up 161 yards on the ground.
But what really matters is that these two Gophers were the only two Gophers to touch the ball for the entire first half and nearly all of the third quarter. There were four pass attempts that fell incomplete in that span, so the only two Gophers to accumulate any yards through the first 43 minutes were David Cobb and Chris Streveler. In fact by the end of the game those two accounted for about 96% of the Gopher total offense today.
On the flip side of the 380 rushing yards is that fact that the Gopher offense nearly went the entire game without completing a forward pass. With 6:36 remaining in the 4th quarter, Streveler converted a 3rd and six to Drew Wolitarsky for seven yards. That was it for the aerial attack.
We all knew that passing was not exactly a strength of this offense and it would be even more of a challenge with the freshman Streveler getting his first start. But 1 for 7 passing and seven yards is really an incredible stat.
The other ugly stat for the Gophers was the penalties. 10 total penalties today to zero for the Spartans! 10 penalties for 80 yards. When you cannot pass the ball, this is what can really kill a drive. The final score was a 24-7 win but penalties killed a few drives that could have otherwise resulted in points.
Lastly, we got to sit through an hour and three minute rain delay. The fans cleared the seats, headed for the concourses and waited out the storm. The game started with a beautiful afternoon. A brief storm blew through and the game finished with a beautiful early evening.
Defensively, Minnesota played well. Damien Wilson had a great game again with 9 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss, 1 forced fumble and a fumble recovery. The Gopher secondary had two interceptions and four pass breakups. In total the Gopher defense allowed just 68 yards rushing and 186 yards passing.
This was a win and it was the third game this year where the end result never felt in doubt. Minnesota now heads into the Big Ten portion of the schedule with a 3-1 record and still some pretty significant questions about the passing game and whether or not they can compete against Big Ten teams without one. A trip to Michigan is just a week away.