Gophers Hang on to Beat MAC Opponent by 5
September 11, 2021

After losing by 14 to fourth-ranked Ohio State in its opener, the Minnesota Gophers geared up for wins in upcoming nonconference games, including two against usually beatable opponents from the Mid-America Conference (MAC). The first half of the game against Miami—which had lost to No. 8 Cincinnati by 35—seemed to set the tone of the outcome. However, the Gophers had to hang on in the second half to beat the RedHawks 31-26.

Treyson Potts, who will be the featured runner after Mohamed Ibrahim went down with a season-ending injury last week, ran for 80 yards and two touchdowns in the first half as Minnesota built a 21-3 lead. But by the time the Gophers scored again, Miami was closing in.

Miami got a touchdown early in the third quarter as A. J. Mayer, who normally comes in at quarterback in running situations, threw a nice fade pass on third-and-three that Jack Sorenson pulled in for a 26-yard reception at the 1 despite being well covered by Terell Smith. Mayer ran it into the end zone on the next play

With the RedHawks defense now shutting down Potts and quarterback Tanner Morgan, Miami got a 45-yard field goal from Graham Nicholson late in the third quarter and had the ball back again by the end of the persion. Starting from its 40, Miami moved downfield, and Brett Gabbert, the starting quarterback, connected with Sorenson, who was again well covered by Smith, for a 23-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 21-19.

Any thoughts that coach Chuck Martin may have had about a two-point conversion went away when Miami was penalized five yards for incurring its second sideline infraction. From five yards farther out than usual, Nicholson converted the extra point.

This time the Minnesota offense responded, helped by a 42-yard kickoff return by Mar’Keise Irving, who had first dropped the kickoff before recovering it and running to the Minnesota 47. It was all Potts from there, who covered the remaining 53 yards on the ground, capping the five-play drive with a 21-yard run.

The Gophers got field position again after Tyler Nubin intercepted a pass at midfield and returned to the Miami 32. Although Minnesota could gain no yardage on three plays from scrimmage, Matthew Trickett was able to kick a 50-yard field goal to put the Gophers ahead 31-20 with 6:15 left.

The RedHawks countered, helped by a penalty on Rashad Cheney for roughing the passer on a fourth-down incompletion that would have turned the ball over to the Gophers. Instead Miami got the ball at the Minnesota 34, and Gabbert made a nice pass to Mac Hippenhammer, who hauled it in over Coney Durr on the left side of the end zone. A two-point attempt that would have pulled Miami to within a field goal was not good, although the RedHawks never got the ball back as the Gophers were able to run out the final 3:43.

Minnesota next goes to Colorado and comes home against another MAC team, Bowling Green.

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