MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Gopher football team finished its nonconference schedule 3-0, after a 31-24 win over Colorado State Saturday afternoon.
There are two things we learned from this Gophers win: This offense might turn out to be pretty good, especially if they can get the running game going like they did Saturday. And they better play a lot better defensively once Big Ten play starts next week.
With 243 yards and four touchdowns on the ground, it felt a bit like the two-headed monster rushing attack of the Glen Mason days — Rodney Smith going for 99 yards and two touchdowns, Shannon Brooks returning from a foot injury to go for 85 yards and a score in his first game back.
“[Brooks] and Rodney really compliment each other,” quarterback Mitch Leidner said. “Sometimes I don’t even know which one’s in there, at times.
“You get guys that don’t get tired the entire game, and it just wears on a defense over time.”
“They’re both awfully good, so it doesn’t matter which way it ends up,” coach Tracy Claeys said. “Rodney doesn’t get the credit for as tough a runner as he is, he’s awfully tough also. And then Shannon showed, he’s awfully good. We’ve got a great pair of those guys. Those two kids can make a lot of things happen.”
But it wasn’t all roses for the Gophers. Their defense gave up 24 points, allowing a 17-point underdog to hang around until the very end. What Minnesota did Saturday isn’t going to cut it against superior competition in conference play.
“Right now people are two-way going us a little bit, they’re running and passing, and we’ve got to find a way to get it to where it’s a one-way go,” Claeys said. “We’re playing good enough to slow people down a little bit, but we’re obviously not where we need to be going into the Big Ten.”
We’ll learn a lot more now that the task gets tougher.