Rapid Reaction: Rodney Smith climbs Minnesota's all-time list as Gophers boat-race Maryland
Final Score: Maryland 10, No. 17 Minnesota 52
Brief Recap: The Gophers are rowing on to an 8-0 after taking care of Maryland in a dominant fashion. Minnesota never trailed in Saturday’s game, racing out to a 28-0 lead before the Terrapins found the board. Maryland would kick a field goal just before halftime, but that 25-point deficit would be the closest the Terrapins would be the rest of the afternoon. PJ Fleck’s squad would score the next 17 points to cruise to the finish line with a big lead.
Key Moment: The only key moment in a game this lop-sided came with just under four minutes to go in the first half. Minnesota was already comfortably ahead with a 21-0 lead with Maryland driving. It looked like the Terrapins would at least close the lead to a 14-point margin to make the second half a little more interesting. Then a bobbled pass turned into a Coney Durr interception that he returned 72 yards for an incredible pick-six. That put the Gophers up 28-0 and eliminated any suspense from the contest.
Key Player: The player of the game has to go to Minnesota’s star RB, Rodney Smith. Smith led the Gophers with 103 yards on the ground and punched in a touchdown while averaging 6.1 yards per carry. Additionally, Smith climbed to the top of Minnesota’s all-time list for all-purpose yardage. He moved past Darrell Thompson into the top spot, breaking Thompson’s 30-year hold on the record.
Key Stat: As they have for much of the season, the Gophers controlled the time of possession by controlling the running game. Minnesota ran for over 300 yards while averaging 6.0 yards per carry as a team. That allowed QB Tanner Morgan and the offense to hold the ball for nearly 40 minutes of game time, stifling Maryland’s attack all game long.
What it Means for Maryland: For the Terrapins, they have four more games to get three wins to guarantee bowl eligibility for the season. That will be no easy task as they play vs Michigan, at Nebraska, vs Ohio State, and at Michigan State to finish the year.
What it Means for Minnesota: For the Gophers, their sites are set on big goals after running their undefeated streak to 8-0. However, the real fun begins coming out of a Week 10 bye. Three of Minnesota’s final four games are against ranked opponents, including a home game against a current Top-10 ranked Penn State squad. But with Wisconsin’s loss to Ohio State, the Badgers and Iowa both have two conference losses on their resumes. If Minnesota finishes strong, the Gophers could be looking at a trip to Indianapolis for the B1G Championship Game.