Minnesota Has No Trouble with Rutgers at the Birthplace of College Football
October 19, 2019

On November 5, 1869, Rutgers beat the College of New Jersey (now Princeton) 6-4 in the first intercollegiate football game. Across the Raritan River from the site of that first game, Rutgers is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the beginning of college football and doing it with one of its worst teams ever.

The 20th-ranked Minnesota Gophers came in to Piscataway, New Jersey, and beat the Scarlet Knights 42-7 to up their record to 7-0. Rutgers, after a nonconference win in its opener, has been outscored 237-30 in the last six games.

The Gophers couldn’t take advantage of its field position on its first two series of downs, the initial one set up by Antoine Winfield’s interception of a Johnny Langen pass at midfield. Late in the first quarter, Rodney Smith ran three yards for a touchdown to cap a 57-yard drive.

Smith covered 44 of his game-high 111 yards rushing in the first quarter. For Rutgers, Langen passed for 1 yard, but it matched Rutgers’ total passing yardage in its 35-0 loss at Indiana the week before.

In the second quarter, Langen tried airing it out with a long pass to Shaheem Jones, but it was picked off by Phillip Howard at the Minnesota 23. The Gophers drove for a first down at the Rutgers 13. Tanner Morgan was off-target with a couple of passes before he hit an open Rashod Bateman in the end zone for a 14-0 lead.

Bateman made a big third-down catch on Minnesota’s next possession, hauling in a 21-yard pass despite being interfered with by Avery Young, and the Gophers eventually made it to the Rutgers 15, only to have Michael Lantz miss a 33-yard field-goal attempt in the waning second.

Rutgers was still at 1 yard passing at halftime, although the Scarlet Knights covered 28 yards on the ground. The Gophers had 105 yards rushing and 130 passing.

Minnesota went 72 yards on 10 plays to open the second half, Smith finishing it with a nifty cut back for a 16-yard score.

Rutgers responded with its first sustained drive, getting to the Minnesota 23 before Carter Coughlin sacked Langen for a six-yard loss. Justin Davidovicz was wide left with a 47-yard field-goal attempt. Though they held the Scarlet Knights scoreless again, the Gophers lost linebacker Kamal Martin, who injured his lower leg on the fourth play of the drive.

Bateman was again involved in a long pass, this one for 27 yards, that put Minnesota into Rutgers territory as the third quarter ended. Mohammed Ibrahim finished the drive with a six-yard touchdown run. It took only 10 seconds for another touchdown. After Grant Ryerse kicked off for a touchback, Winfield intercepted his second pass of the game and returned it 32 yards for a touchdown.

The Gophers made it 42-0 on their first play of the next drive. The Rutgers safeties bit on a play-action, leaving Tyler Johnsons completely open at the 14 yard line, and he took in Morgan’s pass for a 56-yard touchdown.

With the Minnesota starters out, Rutgers was able to go 75 yards for a touchdown, Kay’Ron Adams finishing it with a 5-yard run.

Minnesota comes home with a chance to up its record to 8-0 with a game against Maryland next week.

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