After Slow Start, Minnesota-New Mexico State Becomes Blowout

Minnesota-New Mexico State

Despite a 7-7 tie at the end of the first quarter, the Minnesota-New Mexico State contest was not a close one. The Aggies held a brief three-point lead early in the second quarter, but that was the end of good news for them. Minnesota scored four unanswered touchdowns and had a convincing 35-10 lead at halftime. Two Emmit Carpenter field goals and another touchdown in the second half gave the Gophers 48 points to New Mexico State’s 10.

Minnesota-New Mexico State

The youthful Gophers didn’t look particularly youthful against the overmatched Aggies. The offense gained 522 yards; the defense held NMSU to 271. Senior running back Rodney Smith and junior receiver Tyler Johnson picked up where they left off last year, combining for not quite half of the team’s yards on offense. Among the young players, quarterback Zach Annexstad completed 16/33 pass attempts for 220 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. Would a higher completion percentage be nice? Sure. Overall, though, a good night for a freshman in his first college game. Running backs Mohamed Ibrahim and Bryce Williams and receivers Rashod Bateman and Chris Autman-Bell were other freshmen who stood out to me.

On the slightly-more-experienced defense, the usual suspects played very well. The front four held the Aggies to 38 rushing yards. Linebacker Blake Cashman (eight tackles, six solo, one sack, four TFL, one pass defensed) was all over the field, as was Thomas Barber. The secondary played well too, including sophomore Kiondre Thomas, who saw limited action last year.

In Conclusion…

It’s tough to take too much away from games like Minnesota-New Mexico State because of the lopsidedness of the programs. That said, the amount of talent on the field for the Gophers was impossible to ignore. Their schedule down the stretch is a tough one, but I’m still excited to see what this team looks like three months from now.