Minnesota routs Middle Tennessee to stay unbeaten
Minnesota running backs Rodney Smith and Kobe McCrary each rushed for 107 yards, which was more than the 46 rushing yards Middle Tennessee State gained as a team, in the Golden Gophers’ 34-3 win Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
Kobe McCrary scored three touchdowns for the Golden Gophers, who outgained Middle Tennessee State 221-46 on the ground.
Minnesota improved to 3-0 in the non-conference portion of its schedule with its defense limiting the Blue Raiders (1-2) to 230 yards of total offense. Middle Tennessee State mustered 11 first downs, only two via the run.
Sophomore linebacker Thomas Barber had a team-high nine tackles and an interception for the Golden Golphers, who next play Sept. 30 against visiting Maryland in their Big Ten opener. Sophomore safety Antoine Winfield Jr. added seven tackles.
Middle Tennessee State sophomore quarterback John Urzua struggled, completing 19 of 34 pass attempts for 135 yards with two interceptions and no touchdowns.
Minnesota redshirt senior Conor Rhoda completed 11 of 18 pass attempts for 122 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions.
The first of McCrary’s touchdown runs was from 14 yards out with 6:02 left in the first half, giving Minnesota a 13-3 lead.
A 67-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter by junior cornerback Jacob Huff gave the Golden Gophers a 20-3 lead heading into halftime.
McCrary’s 1-yard plunge with 1:17 left in the third quarter put Minnesota ahead 27-3 and capped a 16-play, 56-yard drive. He scored on a 5-yard run with 13:27 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Middle Tennessee State hosts Bowling Green in its next game on Saturday.