This was the Golden Gopher team we all hoped and expected to see in week one . A powerful rushing attack that racked up 284 yards and a play-making defense that really set the tone.
David Cobb had a career day rushing the ball. At the half the senior had 113 yards and a touchdown with a 7.9 yard average. By the end of the third quarter he had set a new career high with 192 yards on 24 carries and another touchdown, this one for 48 yards. Cobb's 220 yards for the game was the 12th most in Gopher history and the most since Lawrence Maroney back in 2005.
In total the Gopher rushing attack had 284 yards with a 5.7 per carry average.
But all of the credit can't go to the ground game, the Gopher defense came to play today and did their part to consistently put the offense in great position to score; if they didn't do it themselves. Leading 0-7 at the end of the first quarter, but on the first play of the second quarter Jalen Myrick cut crossing route and picked a soft pass from Austin Grammer for the interception and 31-yard return for a pick-6.
On the very next Blue Raider possession Damien Wilson intercepted a tipped third-down pass, setting up the offense on the MTSU 27. Mitch Leidner took the next play and dropped a beautiful pass in to the bread basket of Maxx Williams for a 27-yard touchdown and a very quick 0-21 Gopher lead.
One more touchdown was to be had before halftime. The Gophers took the ball on their own 44 after the defense forced a three-and-out. They marched 56 yards on 5 plays for a Cobb 7-yard touchdown. Back to back runs of 27 and 24 yards for Cobb on the drive before being rewarded with the touchdown.
The second half started out a bit hectic for the Gophers. MTSU came out of the half and scored a quick, 3-play, 75 yard drive to get on the board and gain some confidence. Their next possession, after forcing a Gopher three-and-out, was 9 plays, 69 yards before a nice Gopher goal-line stand forced a FG. In just under six minutes of game-clock MTSU cut the Gopher lead to 10-28 with a lot of game remaining.
Then David Cobb took over again. Getting six straight carries on the ensuing drive that was capped by a 48-yard touchdown run. It was Cobb's day and there didn't seem to be much the Blue Raiders could do about it.
How did our quarterback fair today? Well...this time Mitch Leidner started well but faded. The Gopher offense did not complete a pass in the second half. He finished 5/11 passing for 67 yards, one beautiful touchdown and one interception. Starting 3/4 passing with that final pass being the Williams touchdown, Leidner went the rest of the way 2/7 with an interception. Many passes were significantly overthrown and just uncatchable balls. Fortunately the conversation should center on the rushing attack and the defense.
A nice win for the Gophers who move to 2-0. Next week things get more challenging.