It was a big day for Mohamed Ibrahim, as the Golden Gophers got into the win column due largely to his seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth touchdowns of the year. (Keep in mind, the Big Ten teams have only played three games). The Illini had no answer for the junior running back, who carried 30 times for 224 yards. Check out his second touchdown, at around the 1:10 mark:
In fact, the Illini didn’t have answers for much of what the Gophers did. Freshman running back Treyson Potts scored his first career touchdown before suffering an injury. Redshirt freshman Cam Wiley carried nine times, with a long of 17 yards. Rashod Bateman caught 10 passes for 139 yards and a touchdown. The Gophers were eight of 10 on third downs and outgained Illinois 541 yards to 287. This was by far the best the Minnesota offense has looked in 2020.
But it wasn’t just the offense and the big day for Mohamed Ibrahim. Granted, Illinois was playing with their fourth-string quarterback in Coran Taylor. But the Gophers managed four sacks, after being held to one in each of the previous games, and limited the Illini to 106 yards through the air. The defense got plenty of rest between series, too, as Minnesota held the ball for 37:35 of the game.
Third downs were an issue for the Illini- they converted on just three of 12. Their biggest problem, though, was penalties. You’re not going to win many games when you take 12 of them for 120 yards. This third-quarter sequence in particular, right after converting on fourth-and-one, was a killer:
- First and goal at the Minnesota 10: Quarterback run, no gain
- Second and goal at the Minnesota 10: Illinois personal foul, 15 yards
- Second and goal at the Minnesota 25: Quarterback run, loss of 23
- Third and goal at the Minnesota 48: Incomplete pass
- Fourth and goal at the Minnesota 48: Punt
I’ve been watching football for a long time, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen third and goal from the opponent’s 48-yard line before.
Some quick Big Ten thoughts:
- As frustrating as the Maryland loss was, Minnesota played them a lot closer than Penn State did. That is definitely not something I expected to be writing this morning
- The more I see of Michigan, the more I wonder how in heaven’s name Minnesota didn’t manage to at least keep that game closer
- I imagine Michigan fans feel similarly after watching previously-winless Iowa spank the Spartans 49-7 yesterday
It’s Floyd Of Rosedale week!
Yes, it’s the time of year where the Big Ten teams play for hotly contested (and sometimes just plain weird) trophies. Michigan denied Minnesota the Little Brown Jug- can the Gophers at least take back Floyd of Rosedale from the Hawkeyes?
Last Word on Sports has you covered for weird trophy games, and all your college football questions. Need more content? See what you think about our Week Eight Heisman Rankings!