Colorado came to Huntington Bank stadium as the first Power 5 caliber opponent of the season. But Minnesota had another dominating performance as they ran through Colorado beating the Buffs 49-7. Once again a balanced offense was combined with a stout defense to give the Gophers their third lopsided win of the season. Mohamed Ibrahim lead the Gopher offense with a monster day, rushing for 202 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Minnesota took the opening kickoff, drove 75 yards on 9 plays and surgically scored the game’s first touchdown. Then the defense gave the ball right back to the offense. Terell Smith sacked Brendon Lewis on the Buff’s first play, Jalen Logan-Redding recovered the fumble and the offense had the ball on Colorado’s 11 yard line. Two plays later it was 14-0 and the rout was on.
This game followed the exact same script as the prior two games against New Mexico State and Western Illinois. It was an offense that used the run to set up the pass. And defensively the Gophers severely limited the Buffalo offense. The numbers all around were once again impressive.
On offense, Tanner Morgan threw 3 touchdown passes to go with 157 yards on 11/16 passing. Ibrahim was his usual impressive self, rushing for his 12th consecutive 100-yard game while also tieing Darrel Thompson’s record for career touchdowns. His 4th 200-yard rushing game is also a school record.
Collectively the offense was 11/12 on 3rd down through the first three quarters (13/15 for the game) and they punted just once in the game.
On defense, it was another game of ridiculous numbers, especially before the Gophers began to give younger guys some game experience. Colorado did not get to 100 yards of total offense until into the 4th quarter. They did manage 227 total yards, but 136 of those were exclusively against the 2nd team defense. They were just 1/12 on third down for the game. Individually, Michael Dixon had 2 pass breakups and Mariano Sori-Marin finished leading the team with 6 tackles and 1 TFL.
This team was a step up in caliber of opponent, but the reality is that Colorado just is not very good. Likely worse than they were a year ago when the Gophers won at Boulder 30-0. Once again, the Gophers did exactly what they were supposed to do against an inferior opponent. There was no overlooking the Buffs, this team didn’t manage to squeak by a game they should have won handily. They dominated and put this out of reach by halftime.
The Buffalos did put together a lengthy touchdown drive in the 4th quarter against a Gopher defense of entirely backups. With 8:55 remaining, they cut the game to 49-7.
The bad news for the Gophers in this game was the 2nd quarter injury to Chris Autman-Bell. CRAB appeared to injure his knee as the Gophers were running their 2-minute drill in the 2nd quarter. More to come on this injury, but it did not look very encouraging at the moment.
Up next, the Gophers hit the road for their toughest game of the early season. A trip to East Lansing to face the Spartans next Saturday at 2:30.