Minnesota enters halftime leading Rutgers 21-10. The Gophers could do no wrong on offense in the first quarter. In the second quarter, special teams miscues, silly penalties, and poor defense made the game much closer then expected.
Minnesota’s rushing attack was strong early. Shannon Brooks had 13 carries for 53 yards and a touchdown. Most of those runs were off inside zones, and Brooks used his power to get additional yards. He was also prevented from another touchdown by a shoestring tackle by Rutgers.
Rodney Smith has played less, but has 25 yards on seven carries with a touchdown.
Mitch Leidner returned from a concussion to have a solid first half. Like the rest of the team, his first quarter was brilliant and his second quarter was suspect. Leidner started 7/7 and added a rushing touchdown. He finished the first half 8/10 for 139 yards.
Damarius Travis intercepted a pass in the endzone with 13 seconds left in the second quarter to prevent Rutgers from scoring to cut the game to a possession. The defense had few bright spots in the first half. Missed tackles, lack of pressure on the QB, and multiple missed assignments were the norm for much of the first half.
Special teams was also weak. Ryan Santoso had a poor first punt, and Emmit Carpenter missed his second field goal on the year.