Rapid Reaction: Minnesota keeps rolling, blows out Northwestern
Remember when Minnesota lost to Bowling Green in Week 4? Well, the Golden Gophers haven’t lost since — and they show no signs of slowing down.
Minnesota recovered well from that game and has rattled off 4 straight wins, including a 34-14 victory over Northwestern on the road on Saturday. The Golden Gophers are now 6-2 overall and 4-1 in B1G action. Didn’t expect to be saying that a few weeks ago, did you?
What’s more impressive is how Minnesota has come back from losing its top two rushers in Mo Ibrahim and Trey Potts. Quarterback Tanner Morgan appears to be finding a groove under center, completing 12 of 17 passes for 134 yards while also rushing for 29 yards and a touchdown against Northwestern. But the ground game once again stole the show, totaling 308 yards as a group. The attack was led by Mar’Keise Irving and Ky Thomas, who combined for 216 yards and 2 touchdowns.
For Northwestern, the bright spot of the offense continues to be running back Evan Hull, who ran for 107 yards. Despite throwing for two touchdowns, Andrew Marty looked alright at quarterback, throwing for 93 yards on 10-of-16 passing.
Minnesota now has to be considered one of the favorites for the B1G West title. The Golden Gophers have a capable quarterback and a strong running-back room, which is a good recipe for success. Let’s also not forget wide receiver Chris Autman-Bell, who was held to just one catch for 10 yards against Northwestern. If Morgan
But the story continues to be the defensive regression for Northwestern. The Wildcats entered the game ranked last in the B1G, allowing 417.9 yards per game — a stark contrast to last year when NU had the best defense in the conference. They gave up 442 against Minnesota, meaning that number’s not getting any better. That’s one area in particular that Pat Fitzgerald will have to address into next year.
They’re two teams going in opposite directions this year. But if you’re a Minnesota fan, it’s hard not to start thinking about Indianapolis at the end of the season.
One step at a time, though.