The Minnesota versus Maryland game last Friday from College Park was a wild ride. The Terrapins went up by 21 points in the first quarter only to fall behind by 17 points—38-21—by the time the third quarter was underway. But before the game ended, Maryland had sprinted all the way back once more to tie the Gophers at 38 in regulation time, before winning, 45-44, in overtime. 

In that case, the slow Tortoise beat the swift Gopher over the long haul of sixty minutes. Gophers’ offensive coordinator Mike Sanford took away several hard-earned lessons from the loss and shared them in an interview with 247 Sports.

For one, Sanford saw an opportunity for a more complete team effort to put the game away.

“Our defense is going to play outstanding football, and there’s going to be times where we’re [the offense] going to have to go steal a game in a low scoring affair. There’s going to be other times, where we’re going to have to continue to score and score,” Sanford said.

“Whatever the game dictates, whatever the team needs from us, we need to live to be in that situation and have that mentality to say, ‘Let’s finish it on our side of the ball for this team, or each other for everybody that’s on this unit.'”

More specifically for the offense, Sanford saw opportunities to play and execute better situational football while also charging the offense with the responsibility of putting the knife in to end games when the opportunity is there.

“I think that one of them is that we got to put our keep our foot on the gas, and that’s not just throwing the ball. It’s not just simply you’re opening it up more. I think we just got to make sure that overall, we live for those moments as an offense where we can put the game away,” said Sanford.

“There were some plays that we left out there certainly, that probably don’t meet the naked eye as it relates to seeing it run into a loaded box, There are some opportunities for us to execute better in those situations.”

The 0-2 Golden Gophers are traveling Saturday to play the 0-2 Illinois Fighting Illini in Champaign. The game kicks at 3:30 pm ET and can be watched on BTN.