Minn. overcomes record-setting penalties

The Gophers’ 17 penalties was the most in program history.

Football vs. Michigan State

Ian Larson

Football vs. Michigan State

by Marco LaNave

The Gophers broke a 52-year Big Ten record for penalties in a game, but still managed to earn a 42-34 victory over Michigan State on Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium . Minnesota was flagged 17 times for a program-record 157 yards. âÄúOur guys made some mistakes in this game,âÄù Gophers head coach Tim Brewster said. âÄúPenalties are part of the game, and how you respond to those penalties, I think, is whatâÄôs important, and our team responded extremely well.âÄù In situations where penalties could have been costly, Minnesota was often able to recover. On the GophersâÄô second possession, a holding penalty on junior center D.J. Burris led to third-and-19 from the Michigan State 37-yard line. But junior quarterback Adam Weber completed a 37-yard pass to sophomore wide receiver Brandon Green for his second of five touchdown passes. Late in the second quarter, senior linebacker Lee Campbell was called for pass interference to put the Spartans at the Minnesota 46-yard line. On the next play, however, senior cornerback Marcus Sherels ended the drive with his first interception of the season. Early in the third quarter, Weber completed a 48-yard pass to sophomore wide receiver Troy Stoudermire, who stood in celebration after the catch and was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct. The 15-yard penalty pushed the Gophers back from the Michigan State 13-yard line to the 28, but they still scored four plays later to extend the lead to 28-17. In the fourth quarter, a personal foul penalty on sophomore Tim Dandridge and a roughing the passer penalty on senior linebacker Simoni Lawrence put Michigan State at the Minnesota 39-yard line. The crowd treated the officials to the loudest boos and chants of the game after those two penalties. They continued to express their displeasure until the Gophers stopped Michigan State three times after the Spartans had first and goal at the Minnesota 1. Instead of taking the lead, the Spartans settled for a field goal to cut MinnesotaâÄôs lead to 35-34. On the GophersâÄô next drive, they faced third-and-17 because of a first-down holding penalty on junior left tackle Dominic Alford. On that third down, Weber threw to senior tight end Nick Tow-Arnett. He couldnâÄôt control the ball, which popped into the arms of sophomore running back Duane Bennett, who ran more than 35 yards with the ball for MinnesotaâÄôs final score. âÄúEven though there were some self-inflicted penalties, we just felt, âÄòeliminate that play, go on to the next play, make a play [on the] upcoming play,âÄô âÄù said Bennett, who was credited with a 59-yard touchdown reception on the play. Minnesota entered the game tied for the third-most penalties in the Big Ten. Gophers junior right tackle Jeff Wills committed a personal foul and three of the teamâÄôs four false-start penalties Saturday in its home stadium. Michigan State, which was tied for the most penalties in the conference entering SaturdayâÄôs game, committed nine penalties for 73 yards, including five fourth-quarter penalties for 30 yards. The final penalty on the Spartans, a running into the kicker penalty against Kendell Davis-Clark, cost them a chance to get the ball a final time. The Gophers continued their drive and ran out the rest of the clock in three plays. Brown has career day, too For the first time this season, someone other than a linebacker led the Gophers in tackles. Senior defensive tackle Garrett Brown led the Gophers with seven tackles, three for a loss, both career highs. Campbell, who has led the team in tackles five times this season, finished second with a season-low six tackles. Gray sees increased time but has quiet day With Weber having the game of his career, the Gophers needed little from true freshman quarterback MarQueis Gray. Gray was on the field for more than a dozen plays, as he handed the ball off several times, ran and passed. One week after leading the Gophers in rushing yards, Gray rushed eight times for 23 yards (a 2.9-yard average). Gray rushed for no more than 4 yards on a single carry, but he gained that much on each of four second-half rushes. Gray threw two first-half incompletions.