Tanner Morgan threw two touchdowns and Seth Green rushed for two more as the No. 17 Minnesota Golden Gophers coasted to a 52-10 victory over Maryland on Saturday in Minneapolis.
Rodney Smith rushed for 103 yards and a touchdown for the Golden Gophers, whose 8-0 start is their first since winning the national title in 1941. The lopsided victory improved Minnesota to 5-0 in the Big Ten for the first time since 1961.
Tayon Fleet-Davis reeled in a 59-yard touchdown pass from Tyler DeSue for Maryland (3-5, 1-4), which was outgained 498-210 in total yards while sustaining its third straight loss and fifth in six games.
Minnesota’s opportunistic defense recorded a pair of interceptions, with Antoine Winfield Jr.’s fifth pick of the season and third in the last two games setting up the game’s first score.
After Winfield returned the pick 30 yards, the Golden Gophers capped a four-play drive with Rashod Bateman reeling in a back-shoulder throw from Morgan for a 9-yard touchdown just 1:59 into the game. The connection to Bateman extended Morgan’s streak to nine straight games with a TD pass.
Minnesota doubled the advantage on its next drive, stringing together six plays of at least 10 yards before Green rumbled up the middle for a 10-yard touchdown.
The Golden Gophers extended their lead to 21-0 on the next possession, capped by Tyler Johnson snaring a 16-yard slant pass for a touchdown. Johnson was able to waltz into the end zone after defensive back Dean Jones fell down on the play.
Minnesota wasn’t done as defensive back Coney Durr grabbed a deflection for an interception and scampered 72 yards for a touchdown to boost the lead to 28-0 with 3:41 remaining in the second quarter.
Smith dove in from 1 yard out to cap a 12-play, 63-yard drive with 1:37 remaining in the third quarter.
Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week Casey O’Brien, a four-time cancer survivor, held the ball on Michael Lantz’s successful extra-point attempt.
O’Brien repeated the feat for kicker Brock Walker following Green’s 1-yard touchdown midway into the fourth quarter.
Fleet-Davis’ long reception was one of the few bright spots for Maryland, but the momentum was short-lived as Treyson Potts rushed in for a 2-yard score.
—Field Level Media