The game was much closer than it should have been, but Minnesota rode a strong rushing attack to a 31-24 win over Colorado State at TCF Bank Stadium. Minnesota is now 3-0 on the season. Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks led the way for Minnesota accounting for almost 200 yards and three touchdowns between them. Mitch Leidner had a relatively steady game, and the defense made just enough plays to squeak by the Rams.
Positives first, the running backs on this team are great. Brooks returned from injury and had 85 yards rushing in his first game back. He does not seem to have lost a step since returning from injury. With a long of 35 on the day, Brooks looks ready for BIG play.
His counterpart in the backfield Rodney Smith was even better. Smith averaged almost 6 yards a carry on his way to 99 yards rushing. He also had two touchdowns on the ground. In addition to rushing, Smith had the highlight reel catch of the day to haul in a high throw from Leidner on a wheel route.
Leidner himself had a performance best described as nondescript. He completed over 75% of his passes, but also through a bad interception to end the first half. On the ground, Leidner was much better with 50 yards on ten attempts and a touchdown.
The big negative was the rush defense. Minnesota was consistently torched by Colorado State. That will need to be cleaned up next week against Penn State.