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Minnesota beats Colorado State: Final Score 23-20, Five things we learned

This was an ugly game, there's no denying it. But a win is still a win.

Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

The Gophers scored on a late touchdown from Mitch Leidner to KJ Maye to go up 20-17 with 55 seconds left. That should have been the difference but a terrible pass interference call by Big Ten officials (sigh) set up a game tying field goal for Colorado State as time expired. So instead of a regulation win we went into overtime.

The Gopher defense came up big right away, forcing what appeared to be a fumble but ended up being an interception on CSU's first OT play. The Gophers looked like they might have to settle for a game winning field goal attempt, but Rodney Smith broke free and ran the ball to the two yard line. The Gophers ran the ball two more times with no success before bringing out Ryan Santoso. Ryan drilled the 18 yard chip shot and the Gophers moved to 1-1 on the year.

I'd love to say that I have a lot of happy things to write. But I don't. I'd love to, but I don't. The most important thing was that Minnesota got the win and are now 1-1. It was a terrible game for the Minnesota offense. It was a some good/some bad game for the defense. Here are the five quick thoughts I have after a nail biter in Fort Collins:

1) The offensive problems go beyond Mitch Leidner.

I'll have more to say on this in a different post, but the issues on offense are...well...everywhere. The OL breaks down far too often, even for being a patchwork group right now. The wide receivers drop far too many passes, including well thrown/pretty well thrown ones. And Mitch, well, even when everyone else does their jobs he'll skip a ball at a receiver's feet or vastly overthrow a wide open guy on a play that should have been a first down. And yet, he lead a big drive down the stretch (with a pretty TD pass no less) to score a must have touchdown. Lots more to say here, but we'll save those thoughts for later.

Brick Wall Performance Of The Game

2) Steven Richardson was a beast.

I don't know how many tackles he had. A lot of them. He did a great job today when the Gophers needed it. Hard to believe the guy is only a sophomore. A true sophomore at that! Will enjoy watching him in the years to come.

3) Punt returns need some work.

I really hate to single out a player, but Craig James' play as Minnesota's punt returner today was maddening. He returned a punt for a touchdown in the first quarter...after he signaled for a fair catch. The fair catch wasn't needed. He left several balls roll inside the 10 yard line instead of fair catching them.

4) Big Ten refs are terrible.

That pass interference call to set up the field goal attempt? BS. I'll update this thing with a Vine of it soon after posting. But it was just terrible.

5) Be good to each other.

This is going to be a hard week. We're all going to get hot under the collar because we all care. Even with a win, I know folks are upset. You should be. There is plenty to be upset about. Try to remember that just because you disagree doesn't mean the other person needs to get hollered at. We're a better community than that.