Minnesota racked up 326 rushing yards and four different players scored touchdowns on the ground in a breezy 34-16 victory over Maryland on Saturday in Minneapolis.
Redshirt freshman Ky Thomas led the Golden Gophers’ attack with 139 yards on 21 carries. True freshman Mar’Keise Irving ran for 105 yards on 15 attempts and Bryce Williams added 48 yards on 13 touches.
The one-sided battle marked the third straight win for Minnesota (5-2, 3-1 Big Ten) and the third straight loss for Maryland (4-3, 1-3).
The Golden Gophers gained 26 first downs and didn’t punt till 5:09 left in the game. They had 175 rushing yards in the first half alone, with Thomas surpassing the century mark by halftime. Quarterback Tanner Morgan wasn’t asked to do much; he finished 8-for-12 for 125 passing yards.
Taulia Tagovailoa went 17-for-27 for 189 passing yards and a touchdown in the Maryland offense’s feeblest showing of the season.
After the teams traded field goals in the first quarter, the Golden Gophers broke through in the second. Minnesota backup quarterback Cole Kramer entered at the end of an 86-yard drive to run in a 2-yard score.
Sticking to what was working, six of the seven plays on Minnesota’s next drive were runs. Thomas was the ultimate benefactor, scoring from 10 yards out to make it 17-3.
Tagovailoa’s 43-yard completion to Marcus Fleming helped the Terrapins get going on the ensuing drive. It resulted in Tayon Fleet-Davis sidestepping his way through the red zone for a 13-yard touchdown to cut into the deficit.
Minnesota settled for a field goal attempt at the end of the half rather than trying one shot toward the end zone. Maryland’s Tarheeb Still blocked the kick to keep the score 17-10 at halftime.
Still, the Terrapins’ defense kept allowing big gains on the ground. Williams and Irving scored Minnesota’s next two touchdowns with ease. Irving stiff-armed two defenders to the ground on an outside sweep for his 9-yard touchdown.
Minnesota chewed clock and tacked on a field goal in the fourth quarter. The Terrapins closed the scoring when Fleming snagged a one-handed catch in the end zone for an 18-yard TD in the final minutes and a 2-point conversion failed.
The Gophers posted their best rushing performance of the season despite having lost their top two running backs, Mohamed Ibrahim and Trey Potts, to season-ending injuries.
–Field Level Media