Gophers Beat Miami 26-3
September 15, 2018

Tyler Johnson caught three touchdown passes and went over 1,000 yards receiving for his career as the Minnesota Gophers completed their nonconference schedule with a 26-3 win over Miami, Ohio.

On a day in which more than half of the Big Ten lost nonconference games, Minnesota coach P. J. Fleck told his players, “Winning is hard” after finding some of them hanging their heads over mistakes and missed opportunities in the locker room after the game.

“You play like you practice,” said Fleck, noting some ragged performance on offense during the week. “We left a lot of meat on the bone offensively.” As for a defense that held the RedHawks to three points and 295 yards from scrimmage, Fleck said, “That’s the expectation.”

The coach said the player of the game was punter Jacob Herbers, who dropped three inside the 10-yard line. One, which was downed at the two, set up a safety that put the Gophers ahead 12-3 with 2:39 left in the first half.

Minnesota took the ensuing free kick and quickly drove 78 yards for a touchdown. Zack Annexstad was sacked on the first two plays of the drive, leaving a third and 17 from the 25. Bryce Williams took a screen pass, avoided tacklers to get a first down, and raced down the left sideline to the Miami 40. Seth Green was in at quarterback to fire a 7-yard pass to Johnson for a touchdown.

The only second-half scoring came after Antonio Shenault intercepted a Gus Ragland pass and returned it 42 yards to the 12. On third and three from the 5, Annexstad hit Johnson in the end zone.

That finished the day for Annexstad, who was hobbled with an ankle injury after a first-quarter sack that had then knocked him out of the game for a play. Tanner Morgan too k most of the snaps the rest of the way.

Williams, in addition to his catch and run for 35 yards, picked up 152 yards on the ground on 33 carries.

For the second year in a row, the Gophers won all three of their nonconference games. Fleck says that is behind them, that their record is 0-0 as they had into Big Ten play, starting next Saturday at Maryland.

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