Minnesota Goes to 6-0 with 34-7 win over Nebraska
October 12, 2019

The first mystery of Minnesota’s 34-7 win over Nebraska was settled before the first play from scrimmage. Quarterback Antonio Martinez and receiver J. D. Spielman had been injured the previous week in a 13-10 win over Northwestern. Both were doubtful for the Minnesota game, with Nebraska coach Scott Frost holding off on a decision to keep Minnesota guessing.

After Michael Lantz, backed by a strong westerly wind, kicked off into falling snow for a touchback, the Cornhuskers took the field. Spielman was in, Martinez not. Backup Noah Vedral was the signal-caller and did most of the rushing for Nebraska, even after Cornhuskers fell behind by 34 points in the third quarter.

The Minnesota ground game was even stronger. Mohammed Ibrahim, after playing sparingly because of a leg injury, rushed for three touchdowns and had 84 yards on 15 carries. Rodney Smith again led the way, running for 140 yards and a touchdown. Shannon Brooks added 99 yards; he had reached 100 with a two-yard gain in the fourth quarter but lost two yards on the next play. He had only one more carry, for one yard.

The Gophers scored quickly on their first drive, of 71 yards. Smith covered 42 yards and Brooks 7. Tanner Morgan was 2 for 2 passing, hitting Tyler Johnson for a gain of 7 and finishing the work by lofting a pass over the line to Chris Autman-Ball for a 15-yard touchdown.

Nebraska moved downfield on a Vedral to Spielman pass for 15 yards, but he was sacked on the next two plays. The Cornhuskers had earlier opted to try a fourth-down conversion, which failed, rather than a field goal into the wind. Farther back this time, they had no choice but to punt.

In the second quarter, after a touchback on another Isaac Armstrong punt, Brooks ran for 25 yards. Smith was a workhorse, fighting his way to gains of 7, 15, and 10 yards, and Ibrahim finished it with a 15-yard run.

The Cornhuskers were relying on Wan’Dale Robinson to run and catch, but his night ended early with an ankle injury, and an already depleted offense was down another player.

Minnesota outdid Nebraska in yards from scrimmage, 257 to 159, in the first half in building a 14-0 lead.

The big play on the opening drive of the second half was a 45-yard pass from Morgan to Johnson, and Ibrahim finished it was a four-yard touchdown run. The Gophers scored two more times in the quarter, on one-yard runs by Smith and Ibrahim.

The Cornhuskers got on the board early in the fourth quarter with an 80-yard drive, capped by a 2-yard touchdown run by Dedrick Mills, the first points allowed by the Minnesota defense in more than 111 minutes.

Vedral completed 14 of 23 passes for 135 yards and, with 71 yards on the ground, had more than double the total of any of his teammates. Morgan was 8 for 13 for 128 yards. Johnson had 5 catches for 109 yards.

Linebacker Kamal Martin was involved in 15 tackles, 6 of them unassisted.

The Gophers now travel to Rutgers to face the Scarlet Knights, winless in the Big Ten, and then return home to play Maryland.

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