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Minnesota Football: Tyler Johnson sends Miami back to Ohio, 26-3

For the second consecutive year, head coach P.J. Fleck’s Gophers are 3-0 to start the season

Miami Ohio v Minnesota Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The Minnesota Golden Gophers are 3-0 for the second consecutive season after a 26-3 victory over the Miami (Ohio) RedHawks, emerging from their nonconference slate unscathed.

True freshman quarterback Zack Annexstad was banged up from the beginning, hurting his left ankle after being sacked awkwardly on the Gophers’ first offensive possession of the game. That was the first of three sacks in the game for the RedHawks’ defense, which terrorized Annexstad for much of the game thanks to a struggling Minnesota offensive line that seemed to neglect the “protection” part of “pass protection.”

Annexstad finished 12-of-20 for 142 passing yards and two touchdowns.

It was Tyler Johnson who came up big for Minnesota on offense. The junior wide receiver hauled in nine receptions for 105 yards and recorded three touchdown catches, including the first touchdown pass of position-uncertain Seth Green’s college career.

True freshman running back Bryce Williams, making his first start for the Gophers, was a workhorse, drawing the bulk of the carries on offense with redshirt freshman Mohamed Ibrahim not quite ready yet for game action after injuring his ankle in the season opener. Williams racked up 141 rushing yards on 33 carries against Miami (Ohio).

The Gopher defense held up their end of the bargain, allowing only a field goal, forcing three turnovers, and even dropping RedHawks’ running back Alonzo Smith in the end zone for a safety. Senior defensive Antonio Shenault snagged the first interception of his career and junior rush end Carter Coughlin recorded two sacks to lead the defense.

The MVP of the game might have been Jacob Herbers. The junior punter was much maligned through the first two of games of the season, but had the best game of his career this afternoon. Three times he pinned the RedHawks inside their own 10-yard line, including two inside the 5-yard line, even. It was an elite performance after a tough start to the season.