On a windy, sleety, rainy, snowy night Minnesota’s rushing attack was once again in full force, racking up 238 yards on the ground, while the defense nearly handed Nebraska its first shutout in more than 20 years. Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks both racked up triple digit rushing totals (EDIT: Brooks had a TFL that dropped him below 100) and Tyler Johnson somehow managed 100 yards receiving as the Gophers ran Nebraska out of TCF Bank Stadium in a 34-7 rout.
The blowout put the Gophers at 6-0 on the season and made them bowl eligible, though the team’s sights are set much higher than that. It was an emphatic stamp of credibility that should vault the team into the consideration for Big Ten West title contenders. Plus, they won the coveted $5 Bits of Broken Chair Trophy for the second time in three years.
From the get-go the offensive line was truly the Minnesota Movers, opening up lanes so wide you could’ve driven a semi-truck through them. Rodney Smith racked up 139 rushing yards and a TD on 17 carries, good for a 7.7 ypc. Shannon Brooks carried 13 times for 99 yards (7.6 ypc) while Mohamed Ibrahim returned from injury and promptly rushed for 84 yard and three TDs on 15 carries. What a night for the backfield.
Tanner Morgan managed the game appropriately going 8-13 for 128 yards and a TD to Johnson.
The defense was strong, though was bailed out by a couple big Nebraska penalties early that erased some big plays. Carter Coughlin and Sam Renner were in Noah Vendral’s grill all night, keeping him just off balance enough to snuff out drives consistently. Nebraska was 0-4 on fourth down conversions.
The Huskers threatened plenty throughout the night, but the defense was in true bend-but-don’t break mode. The Huskers fell to 4-3 in what has become another challenging season for Scott Frost.
Up next for Minnesota? A road game against Rutgers.
Stay tuned for a full recap once everyone dries out.