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Gopher defense collapses in 45-44 overtime loss to Maryland

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Brock Walker’s missed extra point in overtime was the difference

NCAA Football: Minnesota at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Golden Gophers dropped to 0-2 and are now staring down the barrel at an 0-8 season after suffering a humiliating 45-44 loss to the Maryland Terrapins in overtime on Friday night. The Terps scored on a two-yard rush by Taulia Tagovailoa on the opening drive of overtime, and the Gophers were able to respond with a two-yard Seth Green touchdown plunge. But Brock Walker’s extra point attempt was wide right, sealing the victory for Maryland.

The Gophers’ overcame a 21-7 first quarter deficit, only to surrender a 38-21 lead in the fourth quarter, sending the game into overtime when Maryland head coach Mike Locksley opted to let the clock run out on 4th & 15 from the Minnesota 46-yard line with the score tied.

Tagovailoa torched the Gophers’ defense for 394 passing yards and three touchdowns through the air. He was the architect of their 21-7 first quarter lead, tossing a pair of touchdowns and scrambling for 39-yard touchdown sprint down the sideline.

Minnesota stormed back by dominating the second quarter and riding Mohamed Ibrahim, who tied the single-game school record for rushing touchdowns with four in the first half as the Gophers built a 28-21 halftime lead. He would finish the game with 41 carries for 207 rushing yards. The Gophers also benefited from an interception by defensive tackle De’Angelo Carter on a pass tipped by rush end Boy Mafe, representing their first defensive stop of the game.

Defensive stops were few and far between in the second half for Minnesota unfortunately, even as the Gophers extended their lead to 38-21 in the third quarter with a 39-yard touchdown pass from Tanner Morgan to Chris Autman-Bell and a 25-yard Brock Walker field goal. The offense failed to score in the fourth quarter, punting on all three of their possessions as the Maryland offense all too easily scored 17 unanswered points to tie the game.

It was yet another humiliating performance for the Gopher defense, which surrendered 45 points and 675 yards of offense to a team that mustered all of three points against Northwestern the previous week. The Terps racked up 281 rushing yards and averaged 9.1 yards per carry.

Barring a miraculous turnaround, Minnesota would seem to be the doormat of the Big Ten West one year removed from the program’s first 11-win season since 1904.