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Gophers Grind Out 25-6 Win over Eastern Michigan
September 9, 2023

A week after the Minnesota Gophers had trouble on the ground, the 1-2 punch of Darius Taylor (who wears number 1) and Sean Tyler (number 2) led the Gophers to a 25-6 win over the Eastern Michigan Eagles of the Mid-America Conference.

After rushing for only 55 yards in an opening-week win over Nebraska, Minnesota ground out more than five times that against the Eagles, Taylor finishing with 193 yards on 33 rushes and Tyler 93 yards after carrying the more of the load in the early going, getting 79 of his yards in the first half.

It took the Gophers a few tries to get to the end zone on drives that reached inside the Eastern Michigan 5. The first time Minnesota turned the ball over on downs and the second it had to settle for a field goal. After the Eagles matched that, the Gophers took the lead for good with a 93-yard drive that ended with a 2-yard touchdown run by Taylor.

The Eagles kept it close, getting another field goal as the half ran out, but Taylor covered ground as the Gophers took the opening kickoff of the third quarter and drove to the Eastern Michigan 1 before another field goal by Dragan Kesich. Getting the ball back at their 36 after a punt, Minnesota went to the air, Athan Kaliakmanis connecting with Daniel Jackson for 20 yards and a pass interference planet, which put the ball on the Eagles 29. Taylor ran three times and nearly covered all the ground, initially being credited with a 16-yard touchdown run before a review showed that he was down short of the end zone. Two plays later Kaliakmanis ran it in for a 20-6 lead.

In the fourth quarter, the Gophers got a safety on a blocked punt and one more field goal by Kesich, in the final minute following an interception.

Minnesota goes on the road for it’s next game, against the 17th-ranked Tar Heels in North Carolina.

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