Minnesota ended their 3-game losing streak, beating Rutgers 31-0. It was a return to what they do best with Mohamed Ibrahim rushing for 159 yards and 3 touchdowns while the Gopher defense shut down the Rutgers offense. They forced 3 Rutgers turnovers, held the offense to just 134 total yards and zero points. This was the first Big Ten shutout since 2004 for a Gopher defense.
It was a return to basics for the Gopher offense, running the ball frequently and mixing in well-timed short passing to keep the defense honest. They had 53 total rushing attempts on the game for 253 yards and had possession for over 41 minutes.
The entire first quarter saw exactly 2 possessions and lasted approximately 24 minutes.
Rutgers took the opening kickoff and managed a short drive before punting and pinning the Gophers on their own 1-yard line. Minnesota then went on a 19-play, 99-yard drive that ended with an Ibrahim touchdown run. That 99-yard drive took up 10 minutes and 27 seconds.
Minnesota scored on their next possession as well, in a similar fashion. This time it was 86 yards that took 13 plays, it consumed just over 7 minutes of game clock.
Up 14-0 and scoring on each of their first two possessions, this game turned into an exercise of running clock while the Rutgers offense struggled. The result was a Gopher win and arguably the most boring game played at Huntington Bank Stadium (or TCF Bank Stadium for that matter).
Early on the Gopher offense was fairly balanced and moved the ball effectively through the air and on the ground. Tanner Morgan was 8/11 passing in the first half for 83 of the team’s 194 yards. But as the Rutgers offense continued to turn the ball over and punt, the Gopher offense became more and more conservative.
The game was still 14-0 at the end of the 3rd quarter and then the wheels came off for Rutgers and the Gophers took advantage of their mistakes to open things up and finish with the 31-point win.
A Gavin Wimsatt interception by Tyler Nubin gave the Gopher offense a short field that resulted in an Ibrahim 28-yard touchdown. This was followed by turnover on downs by Rutgers which Minnesota turned into Matthew Trickett 31-yard field goal. And then Nubin got his 2nd interception of the day, returned it to the Rutgers 3 and then Bryce Williams punched it in to give us the final score of 31-0.
It was the familiar plan of dominating the ground game while the Gohper defense handcuffed a less-talented opponent and the Gophers rolled to a win. Once again Ibrahim rushed for over 100 yards and today he finally broke Darrel Thompson’s rushing touchdowns record.
Up next, it will be the Nebraska defense that will attempt to stop Ibrahim. They currently have the worst rushing defense in the Big Ten. The Gophers will head to Lincoln next Saturday with kickoff TBD.