The Minnesota Gophers, coming off their bye-week, finish their non-conference schedule a perfect 3-0, defeating the Colorado State Rams 31-24, as they prepare to face the Penn State in their first Big Ten game of the 2016 season.
The Gophers scored four touchdowns, all on the ground with quarterback Mitch Leidner kicking off the scoring in the first quarter, capping an 11 play, 94 yard drive that ate over five and a half minutes off the clock. Shannon Brooks, who returned after rehabbing a pre-season injury, scored on a nine yard run and red-shirt Sophomore, Rodney Smith, added to his impressive stats this year, scoring two touchdowns.
The offense looks much improved from a year ago, slightly more balanced, but still heavily reliant on the run. In past years, the Gophers defense has kept them in games, this year the defense may be their Achilles heel as they gave up 369 yards of offense and, possibly more troubling, allowed the Rams 24 first downs, including two fourth down conversions, resulting in the Rams offense having 14 more plays than the Gophers offense.
The defense did come up big, forcing two fumbles and intercepting quarterback Collin Hill once. The defensive front was in Hill’s face all day and picked up 14 tackles for loss on the day, including a bone jarring sack by Tai’yon Devers.
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