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Gophers Pound Indiana State
September 10, 2016

As expected, the University of Minnesota football program’s second game of the 2016 season was a 58-28 whipping of an undersized squad from Indiana State.

The game was scheduled before the Big Ten mandated no more match-ups with FCS institutions, and Minnesota was fulfilling its commitment to a past arrangement with the Indiana school. When said arrangement was made, it was a low-risk, low-reward situation for the Gophers as opposed to a high-risk, no-reward situation with any of the nearby Dakota FCS universities. Fearing another upset (the past is littered with them), Minnesota decided not to engage with the word “Dakota” attached. And that is how Indiana State wound up on the schedule. Fortunately, the Sycamores were available, or the Gophers might have been stuck with the FCS’s Elon, Stetson, or Incarnate Word. Season ticket holders would have loved that.

What 41,026 spectators got to see on this beautiful day of September 10, was Minnesota torturing a lesser foe with offensive precision, led by quarterback Mitch Leidner.

On a dozen drives, the Gopher offense methodically ravaged Sycamore defenders. The following is a re-cap of each Minnesota drive, only one of which resulted in a Ryan Santoso punt:

  • Ten plays, covering 60 yards and a touchdown.
  • Six plays, 32 yards, and a Santoso punt.
  • Four plays, 38 yards, and a touchdown.
  • Six plays, 52 yards, and a touchdown.
  • Five plays, 46 yards, and a touchdown.
  • Seven plays, 53 yards, and a touchdown.
  • Nine plays, 51 yards, and an Emmit Carpenter field goal.
  • Eight plays, 22 yards, and a field goal.
  • Six plays, 65 yards, and a touchdown.
  • Seven plays, 38 yards, and a field goal.
  • Four plays, 83 yards, and a touchdown.
  • Seven plays, 33 yards.

    Junior running back Kobe McCrary stepped into the limelight against Indiana State, gaining 177 yards on 17 carries, including a 50-yard touchdown run on the Gophers’ 11th drive.

    Leidner was 20 for 30 passing, including touchdown passes to veteran Drew Wolartarsky (2) and freshman Tyler Johnson, most recently with Minneapolis North High School. Other Gophers, including Brian Smith, Rodney Smith, and Carlton Djam, were afforded the opportunity to pad their stats.

    With a 41-7 lead in the fourth quarter, the Gopher defense apparently decided to take the rest of the day off and let in three Indiana State touchdowns.

    “The defense could have been better,” muttered coach Tracy Claeys after the game. “I just don’t think we were playing with as much energy on defense as we needed to play with. That’s unacceptable.”

    A scheduling quirk has given the Gophers an upcoming bye week, plenty of time for Claeys and staff to motivate individual members of the defensive unit before taking on Colorado State at home on September 24. Minnesota barely edged the spunky Rams in overtime last year at Fort Collins.

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