Gophers subdue Raiders on rough and tumble ground game

It was a game sold as the most difficult of the Gophers’ non-conference schedule, but ended up being a dominant performance by the Maroon & Gold on September 16, 2017 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn.

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as the Minnesota Gophers hosted the Middle Tennessee Raiders. Photo Credit: Matt Blewett/Matte B Photography

For the Middle Tennessee State Raiders, the trip up north was a step up in competition, but they were confident, with a well-seasoned team, they were hoping to come away with the upset.

Unfortunately for the Raiders, their starting quarterback was unavailable, having sustained an injury in the previous game, and the moss really hampered an otherwise, according to some, best offense in their division.  Middle Tennessee head coach, Rick Stockstill said about the 34-3 loss, “We’re all disappointed, but I’m not the least bit discouraged.”

Gophers take the field

With the win, the Minnesota Gophers improve to 3-0 on the season and give head coach PJ Fleck a record of 3-0 since taking over the team.  This makes Fleck the first coach to open his tenure as Gophers head coach 3-0 since 1954 when head coach Murray Warmath won his first four games.

“Today showed the resolve of our football team” said Fleck, referring to missing their starting running back, Shannon Brooks, then having backup running back, Rodney Smith go down in the second quarter.  In comes Kobe McCrary, who rushed for 107 yards and three touchdowns, causing Fleck to opine “…you talk about a pair and a spare. That wasn’t a spare. That was a monster truck tire.”

Gophers Junior, Jacob Huff, delivered the knockout blow in the third quarter when he picked off Raider quarterback, John Urzua, returning the ball 67 yards for a touchdown.

The Gophers have a bye next weekend and will hope to rest up their banged up running backs, although the backup did not play half bad either.  Stay tuned to The Minnesota Sports Report for more news and photos from Minnesota sporting events.

Story and photos by Matt Blewett