Mohamed Ibrahim ran for his 10th consecutive 100-yard game and the former Big Ten Running Back of the Year carried the Minnesota Gophers to a dominating 38-0 win over New Mexico State. After missing all by 3 quarters of the 2021 season, Ibrahim rushed for 132 yards and 2 touchdowns tonight, carrying the Gophers to a win to start the 2022 season.
Minnesota did exactly what they were supposed to do against one of the weaker teams in the FCS. They scored on all four of their possession in the first half, allowed NMSU just 2 first downs, gave up only 49 yards of offense and forced 4 punts, and ended the half up 24-0.
The third quarter was much the same. The Aggies managed 3 total yards of offense thanks mostly to a Thomas Rush sack. Tanner Morgan was 6/7 passing in the quarter and the Gopher offense put up 14 more points.
And the final quarter saw the Aggies put together one drive. They moved 54 yards down to the Gopher 21. But that drive ended when Gavin Frakes took a shot into the end zone that was intercepted by a diving Terell Smith.
At this point, with a 38-0 lead, the Gophers went to the 2nd string for the final 10:41. Cole Kramer was first, getting a series. And Athan Kaliakmanis got the next series.
Throughout the PJ Fleck tenure the Gophers have been prone to struggling in the early part of the season against weaker competition. Frequently going with an extremely vanilla playbook while the offensive line failed to control the line of scrimmage. Tonight, this was not the case. The offensive line owned the line of scrimmage, the Gophers ran the ball for 5.2 yards per carry (nearly 6 yards per carry in the 1st half) and the offense was balanced without giving up the playbook on film.
The stats were impressive with 485 yards of total offense while holding NMSU to 91. The Gophers had 31 first downs and were 11/14 on 3rd down tonight. They had possession of the ball for 44 minutes and ran 80 total plays to just 33 for the Aggies.
In short, they did exactly what they were supposed to do against an inferior opponent.
But the story of the game was really the play of Ibrahim. The senior looked sharp, he looked quick and ran decisively. If there were concerns about how he would look after turning from a torn Achilles, there is little doubt that he has not been slowed by the significant injury.
Up next for the Gophers? The Leathernecks of Western Illinois next Saturday at Huntington Bank Stadium.