EditorsNote: Reending per clients request
Minnesota runs over slumping Nebraska
Minnesota rushed for 409 yards, led by quarterback Demry Croft and running backs Rodney Smith and Kobe McCrary, in a 54-21 victory over Nebraska on Saturday in Minneapolis.
Croft rushed 10 times for a career-high 183 yards with three touchdowns, while Smith added 134 yards on 24 carries. Smith started the game with a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
McCrary contributed 93 yards on 10 carries with three touchdowns for the Golden Gophers (5-5, 2-5 Big Ten).
Croft entered Saturday with 192 yards rushing in nine career games. He scored on a 73-yard run in the second quarter and ran to the Nebraska 1 on a 64-yard scamper in the fourth quarter.
Nebraska, which has lost four of its last five games, played the second half without starting quarterback Tanner Lee. He did not come out of the locker room after halftime because of an illness, according to team officials.
Lee completed 13 of 18 passes for 174 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. His backup, Patrick O‘Brien, completed 11 of 17 passes for 131 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions.
Croft completed 9 of 15 passes for 105 yards without a touchdown or interception for Minnesota, which had lost five of its six previous games.
The Cornhuskers (4-6, 3-4) mustered only 69 yards on the ground.
Minnesota established control in the second quarter when Croft rushed for his 73-yard score and McCrary added an 11-yard scoring run to give the Golden Gophers a 27-7 lead with 6:40 left before halftime.
Scoring on a 90-yard, 10-play drive to cut the lead to 27-14, Nebraska looked as if it could build momentum going into halftime knowing it had possession to start the second half.
Minnesota answered, however, with an 11-play, 74-yard drive, culminating with a 36-yard field goal by Emmit Carpenter with four seconds remaining in the half that built the lead to 30-14.
The Golden Gophers pulled away to a 40-14 lead in the third quarter behind a 9-yard touchdown run by McCrary and 30-yard field goal by Carpenter.