Mohamed Ibrahim’s 1-yard touchdown plunge with 5:39 left Thursday night enabled Minnesota to rally for a 28-21 win over FCS power South Dakota State in both teams’ college football opener in Minneapolis.
The score came five plays after one of the few mistakes in a crisply played game. Jackrabbits quarterback J’Bore Gibbs fumbled, and the Golden Gophers’ Winston DeLattiboudere recovered at the South Dakota State 34.
On their last drive, the Jackrabbits reached the Minnesota 32-yard line, but Gibbs was sacked for a 7-yard loss on fourth-and-10 with 1:20 left by Esezi Otomewo and Tai’yon Devers to seal the outcome.
Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan completed 13 of 18 passes for 176 yards with a touchdown and interception. Gibbs connected on 13 of 26 attempts for 193 yards with a score and a pick as well.
In a contest that saw the teams combine for only seven penalties, South Dakota State outgained Minnesota 367-308.
“We knew this would be difficult for our young men, but we found a way,” Gophers coach P.J. Fleck told Fox Sports 1.
Minnesota initiated scoring with a 1-yard touchdown run by Seth Green at the 9:52 mark of the second quarter. It capped an 18-play, 91-yard drive that lasted 10:05. Fifteen of those snaps were runs as the Golden Gophers used their considerable size advantage.
South Dakota State responded when Gibbs hit the end zone from a yard out with 3:23 left in the half, finishing off a 66-yard drive. However, Minnesota took a 13-7 lead to the half when Morgan found Rashod Bateman (five catches, 132 yards) for a 42-yard scoring strike with 49 seconds remaining until the break.
The Gophers upped the margin to 20-7 just 78 seconds into the third quarter as Chris Williamson intercepted a Gibbs pass and lugged it 43 yards for the score. However, South Dakota State dominated the period’s remainder.
Mikey Daniel’s 1-yard run at the 9:04 mark polished off a 92-yard march that pulled the guests within 20-14. On their next possession, the Jackrabbits took their first lead when Gibbs connected with Zach Heins on a 13-yard touchdown pass with 3:26 left.
—Field Level Media