Yeah, Mohamed Ibrahim can still run the ball. Also Trey Potts.
Yes, Kirk Siarocca and Tanner Morgan can still hit the right note.
And yes, gophers can still put up a sloppy defense.
New Mexico State dominated the Gophers’ season opener, 38-0, at Huntington Bank Stadium on Thursday night.
The pre-game conspiracy was between current Aggies coach and former Gophers coach Jerry Kill and Minnesota coach PJ Fleck, successor to Kill’s longtime assistant and friend Tracy Craze. surrounded the one-sided feud of
Fleck sought out Kill for a pre-match handshake and put his arms around his former boss from Northern Illinois to chat for a few minutes.
Fleck’s team then carefully rolled over the Aggies, who went 2-10 last year and lost 40.4 points per game.
“This toughness piece we’re talking about isn’t macho-tough,” Fleck said. Can you control your emotions? Can we challenge each other? Are you confident? can you concentrate? I thought I saw a tough soccer team.”
After recovering from an Achilles tendon tear, Ibrahim finished the 2021 season in the opener against Ohio State with 21 rushes for 132 yards and two touchdowns. He surpassed his 100 rushing yards in his 10th straight game, and his 35 career TDs are second in program history with Marion Barber III.
“Emotional,” Fleck said when asked about his reaction to Ibrahim’s performance, “I’m not the parent of these players, but you feel like yourself. What he overcomes is what “Row the Boat” is all about. That’s what his faith is all about. ”
Potts, who returned from an injury that ended his 2021 season with Purdue in October, had 89 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.
“Thanks to the doctors and medical team at Purdue University. Thanks to the doctors in Indiana. Thanks to the doctors and medical team here at the University of Minnesota, he’s alive,” Fleck said. He ran for a lot of yards and touchdowns tonight. We never knew if he would play again. ”
Ciarocca’s play-calling and Morgan’s play kept the offense balanced, and the sixth-year QB made 13-of-19 passes for 174 yards. He also had two 1-yard QB sneaks for TDs. By three-quarters, the Gophers outscored the Aggies 485–91, holding the ball for 44 minutes and 30 seconds until 15:30 for the Aggies.
“As I watched him progress, I could feel Kirk talking to him,” Fleck said.
The Gophers’ defense ranked third in the nation in minimum yards allowed last year and didn’t allow the Aggies to break through Minnesota territory until the fourth quarter. The home shutout was his 62–0 win over Temple since September 16, 2006.
“We have to have the mentality that we need to be a tough defense every day when we come to work,” said linebacker Mariano Soli Marin. A team like that is built, when we stop running, the physicality comes to the fore.As a defense, we shape that mentality and we have to be tough all the time.”
Siarocca threw out in the first game of his second stint with the Gophers. Morgan hit Chris Oatman Bell diagonally for a 15-yard gain, and Morgan found Mike Brown-Stevens diagonally 26 yards on the next play. Ibrahim followed suit with his 16-yard gain to the Aggies 17.
New Mexico got a first down on the next possession, but the Gophers quickly forced a punt and took over on 36 after a fair catch interference penalty against the Aggies.
On their second possession, the Gophers marched for 13 plays and 64 yards in the running game. Ibrahim started with 15 yards and he gained 9 yards. Potts’ 11-yard run streak moved the ball 15 yards. Ibrahim recorded four carries for 14 yards and stole from 1 on the first play of the second quarter for his 35th career touchdown and 14 RBIs. 0 lead.
After the Minnesota defense forced another three-and-out, the offense tore through the Aggies defense, stalled inside 10, and settled on a 26-yard field goal from Mathew Trickett to take a 17–0 lead. . Morgan a outman found his bell deep in his zone at the end and the wideout tried to bounce his toes in on him, but a replay of his review confirmed the official’s incomplete call.
The Gophers pushed the lead to 24–0 with 19 seconds left in the first half with Morgan’s 1-yard QB sneak.
The Gophers got the ball to start the second half, marking 77 yards on 13 plays for a 31–0 lead, with Morgan taking the lead.
The QB immediately hit Oatman Bell on a drag route for a 19-yard gain. Four plays later, Morgan found Brown Stevens wide open 18 yards to the Aggies 26. Fourteen yards back, Morgan scrambled out of danger and cut back to score a first down on a 14-yard run to 16. After three plays, Morgan scored with another 1-yard sneak. Scored. The drive lasted 8:29.
“I was tripping a little bit,” Morgan said of the big run. Blocking from the outside was very good.”
Potts’ 1-yard TD run with 7 seconds left in the third quarter made it 38-0.
“I loved how the players played,” Fleck said.