Halftime blog: Gophers lead 27-7; ground game rolling

Nate Gotlieb

Junior running back David Cobb made the most of his opportunity in the first half Saturday against New Mexico State.

Cobb scored the first touchdown of the game, as the Gophers took a 27-7 lead into halftime in Las Cruces, N.M.  

Cobb was the third-string running back to start the season.  But starter Donnell Kirkwood sustained an ankle injury in the season-opener against Nevada-Las Vegas and did not accompany the team to New Mexico.  

Cobb rushed for 72 yards on six carries against UNLV.  He scored his first-career touchdown early in the second quarter Saturday, capping a 94-yard touchdown drive and giving the Gophers a 13-0 lead.  

NMSU responded with a touchdown drive of its own, on which the Gophers defense was called for a roughing-the-passer penalty that gave the Aggies the ball in the red zone.  But the Gophers responded with a Rodrick Williams Jr. touchdown later in the quarter.  

Junior Marcus Jones scored a special teams touchdown for the second-consecutive week late in quarter.  He returned a punt 65 yards to give the Gophers a 27-7 lead.

Minnesota's offense appeared strong in the first half, especially the running game.  It recorded 267 yards of offense and had the ball for nearly two-thirds of the quarter.  With the ground game rolling, sophomore quarterback Philip Nelson found success utilizing the play-action pass.  

Nelson threw for 104 yards, including a 48-yard, play-action strike to Derrick Engel that set up a field goal.   

Notes:

-Freshman Donovahn Jones caught his first collegiate pass, a seven yarder that set up the Williams touchdown.  

-Kicker Chris Hawthorne was two-for-two on field goals attempts, including a 45-yard kick that gave the Gophers a 3-0 lead.

-The Gophers didn't turn the ball over in the half.

-Junior Briean Boddy-Calhoun sustained an injury on the second play of the game.  We will keep you posted as updates are available.

Senior linebacker Aaron Hill also sustained an injury but came back into the game.