Minnesota’s defense has faced some serious questions through the first two weeks of the season, but that wasn’t the case on Saturday in Boulder. The Golden Gophers left little doubt that they’re a much better team on that side of the football.

Colorado totaled just 82 yards of offense and had -19 yards on the ground in a 30-0 shutout loss at the hands of Minnesota. It was, by far, the best defensive effort the Gophers have had this season, and quite possibly of the P.J. Fleck era.

The Gophers only allowed the Buffaloes to pick up 7 first downs throughout the game and they converted just 2-of-12 third-down attempts. Minnesota also controlled the clock, maintaining possession for over 40 minutes in the game.

Fleck’s team also found more offensive balance Saturday in Boulder, thanks to more consistent play from Tanner Morgan. The quarterback ended the contest completing 11-of-17 passes for 164 yards. The return of Chris Autman-Bell proved to be significant, as he caught 4 passes for 79 yards in his first game of 2021.

Trey Potts was still a problem for the Colorado defense on the ground. The ball carrier was responsible for 121 yards and 3 touchdowns on 26 carries in the win. He maintained a 4.7 yards per carry average.

After a 45-31 loss to Ohio State and a close call against Miami (OH) last weekend, Minnesota needed a shot in the arm to prove to itself it’s a contender in the B1G West. The Gophers got that against a Pac-12 team.

With the victory, Minnesota improved to 2-1 on the year and gets one final home game against Bowling Green before jumping back into league play in early October. It’s fair to say there are still some questions about Minnesota’s offense after Saturday’s contest, particularly through the air.

The defense answered the call, though. It’ll be interesting to see how the Gophers build on that performance moving forward.