Minnesota had one job at Northwestern today and the did it in comfortable fashion, winning 38-22. This game was never in doubt and should have been an even bigger rout. We’ll get to the opportunities for an improvement. First, let’s take a moment to note all the records set by the Gophers today.
- For the first time ever, a Minnesota team has won 7 Big Ten games. Boom.
- This is the first time Minnesota has won 10 games in the regular season since 1905. And this time they didn’t need to play any high school teams outside the one from New Jersey.
- Tanner Morgan sets the single season record for touchdowns with 25. Morgan finished 15-23 for 211 yards and 4 touchdowns with an interception. The one interception appeared to be caused when Rodney Smith slipped on an underneath route and the ball went directly to the Northwestern defender. It was another solid performance for Tanner, who is cementing this as one of the best seasons by any quarterback in Minnesota history. Several of today’s throws were VERY pretty and the Wildcats never really challenged him all game.
- Rashod Bateman and Tyler Johnson are the first Gophers reciever duo to both reach 1,000 yards in a single season. Bateman had another great game, catching 7 for 78 with 3 touchdown receptions. Johnson continued his streak of 100 yard receiving games, finishing with 125 yards and a TD. Johnson now has 30 TD’s for his career, only one shy of all time program leader Ron Johnson.
- Rodney Smith broke the 1,000 yard barrier for the season. The running game got back on track, going off for nearly 200 yards at over 5.5 per carry.
The game wasn’t perfect. Special teams miscues continued to impact the Gophers. Demetrius Douglas had an especially bad game, failing to field a punt that pinned the Gophers to the goal line which lead to NU’s first points via a safety. He also muffed a punt and fumbled on a kickoff return (thankfully both were recovered). The Gophers kick return also almost allowed the Wildcats to recover a squib kick to start the second half. (There was good news, kicker Michael Lantz returned from injury to kick a 37 yard field goal.) The defense was a little lacadasical at times. I won’t lament it too much, mostly because there are so many positives to enjoy.
Also, this happened. Because Northwestern.
The real game is in the stands pic.twitter.com/u6PmKWOc8L— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) November 23, 2019
All in all it was a successful return to form for the Gophers offense and the defense did what they needed to do while showing flashes of dominance early in the game. The Gophers are now 10-1 as they head into what is arguably the biggest Border Battle in Minnesota’s history.