From the opening kickoff through the final seconds this was a Gopher domination. Minnesota, broke a 2-game losing streak and earned their 5th win of the season with a 54-21 win over Nebraska. The 54 points scored by the Gophers was the most scored against Nebraska since they won 61-7 in 1945.
It started with the opening kickoff that Rodney Smith took for 100 yards to the end zone, giving the Gophers a 7-0 lead 13 seconds into the game.
Nebraska countered with a 12-play drive over 75 yards and a game tying touchdown on a Mikale Wilbon 1-yard run. Minnesota answered with a 12-play, 75-yard touchdown drive of their own and from there things started to roll.
The Gophers first 5 possessions of the game
- 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown (Rodney Smith)
- 75-yard touchdown drive (Demry Croft)
- 93-yard touchdown drive (Demry Croft)
- 72-yard touchdown drive (Koby McCrary)
- 71-yard drive ending in a FG at the end of the half (Emmit Carpenter)
And it was a 30-14 lead at halftime.
Nebraska would start the 3rd quarter with the ball and an opportunity to get back into the game with drive. But despite the offense exploding for 54 points, the Gopher defense deserves a huge chunk of the praise for today. In the 3rd quarter, the defense allowed 28 total yards. In total the defense had 6 sacks and held Nebraska to 69 yards rushing.
Then it was up to the offense to do their part. And they did. To the tune of 408 yards rushing. Yes...408 yards rushing. That is good for 8th most rushing yards in school history and the most since rushing for 411 against Wisconsin in 2005 (a game they lost).
- Demry Croft led the way with 183 yards on the ground and 3 touchdowns. The 183 yards was a school record for rushing by a quarterback. Runs of 73 and 64 yards certainly help bump that total up. But I think we are looking at the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week.
- Rodney Smith with 134 yards on 24 carries and the 100-yard kickoff for a touchdown.
- Koby McCrary was SO CLOSE to giving the team 3, 100-yard rushers with 93 and also 3 touchdowns.
Games like this are easy to recap. It was a total throttling of Nebraska. It was a time to be reminded what a fun win can look like. Gopher football doesn’t always have to angst and infighting. We dominated a division rival and it made for a fun Saturday. Enjoy it.
The speculation on the status of Mike Riley’s future can begin immediately. The question isn’t if he’s going to lose his job, but when.
For Minnesota, they get a huge confidence boosting win. They have secured a 5th win which just might get them into a bowl game due to their high APR score. But they have 2 games left to earn that 6th win. Up next is a trip to Northwestern.