The Minnesota Golden Gophers (7-4) overcame a slow start on both sides of the ball to beat the Indiana Hoosiers (2-9) by a score of 35-14 in their final road game of the season.
The Gophers chewed up eight minutes of game clock on their opening drive, driving down to the Hoosiers’ 16-yard line. But Minnesota could only muster nine yards (and a couple inches) on four straight run plays, leading to a turnover on downs. Indiana took over at their own at their own 8-yard line and proceeded to march down the field for a 14-play touchdown drive. The Hoosiers rolled up 85 yards on the ground en route to the end zone for an early 7-0 lead.
Fortunately, the Minnesota defense found their footing from there, holding Indiana scoreless until a garbage time touchdown late in the fourth quarter. After racking up 92 yards on their opening drive, the Hoosiers were limited to 52 yards of offense prior to their 69-yard scoring drive against the Gophers’ second-string defense. The Gophers also found the end zone in the second quarter. Ky Thomas scored from two yards out to knot the score at 7-7, before running in the go-ahead score on a one-yard touchdown plunge the next drive. That touchdown was set up by a 48-yard connection between Tanner Morgan and tight end Brevyn Spann-Ford, who was wide open and hurdled a defender before being brought down at the Hoosiers’ 4-yard line.
After the Gophers went ahead, 14-7, with 46 seconds left in the first half, Indiana head coach Tom Allen opted to try and score before halftime but freshman quarterback Donovan McCulley threw an ill-advised pass that was intercepted by Tyler Nubin, who returned it to the Hoosiers’ 31-yard line. Three plays later, Minnesota extended their lead to 21-7on a 14-yard touchdown pass to Chris Autman-Bell. The catch was originally ruled an incompletion before a replay review determined that Autman-Bell had made the contested catch with a foot down in the end zone.
Late in the third quarter, Autman-Bell struck again with a nine-yard touchdown catch, making it 28-7 in favor of the Gophers. He finished the game with four receptions for 44 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Tanner Morgan was 14-for-20 with 196 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Mar’Keise Irving scored a three-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to make it 35-7. But the game ball goes to Ky Thomas, who rushed for 105 yards and two touchdowns.