The Minnesota Gophers lost the first game of the 2015 season at home to the TCU Horned Frogs on September 3, 2015 by a score of 23-17. The sold out TCF Bank Stadium crowd was rowdy early and loud often as their underdog Gophers, who were expected to lose by at least two touchdowns, worked to stop the second ranked Horned Frog offense.
It was the TCU defense that showed up early, turning over the Gophers by forcing QB Mitch Leidner to fumble on the Gophers second possession, giving the high powered Horned Frog offense the ball at the Minnesota 15 yard line. TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin capitalized on the opportunity hitting Josh Doctson for an 11 yard touchdown completion. The first quarter ended 10-0 with TCU looking very dominant, holding the Gopher offense to just eight plays on their final three possessions of the quarter.
The second quarter started as the first quarter ended, with the Gophers punting after gaining just three yards on the possession. Minnesota’s second possession of the half, however, looked impressive as they drove 60 yards down the field. Turning over the football is one of the cardinal sins of the game and the turnover bug bit Minnesota again when running back Rodrick Williams fumbled as he was upended and flew across the goal line. TCU would recover for a touch-back.
The Gophers would pick up a field goal in the second quarter to bring the score to 10-3 at halftime.
TCU started the second half by driving down the field for a touchdown, scored by Boykin scrambling for 19 yards. The Gophers responded later in the quarter putting together a 12 play drive, culminating in a one yard touchdown run by Rodney Smith.
TCU added two field goals and, with three minutes left in the game, the Gophers put together an eight play, 91 yard drive capped by a 22 yard passing touchdown from Leidner to receiver KJ Maye. The Gophers forced TCU to punt after three plays and took over with 27 seconds and no timeouts. Unfortunately there was not enough time, but with a final score of 23-17, the Gophers held the game close to the final seconds, a feat few thought possible before the game. The two early fumbles cost the Gophers at least six points, which would have forced overtime against a team that was projected to win by at least a pair of touchdowns.
The Gophers will visit Ft. Collins, CO to face the Colorado State Rams before returning home on September 19 to face Kent State. Stay tuned to The Minnesota Sports Report for updates and photos from the Gophers.