Quick Hitters: Minnesota vs. San Jose State

by Jack Satzinger

Recap: Minnesota (3-1) compiled 380 rushing yards and only 7 passing yards to beat San Jose State for the second straight season. Redshirt freshman quarterback Chris Streveler made his first-career start, filling in for a hobbled Mitch Leidner, and ran for 161 yards.  

Senior running back David Cobb had his second 200-plus rushing yard game of the season with 207 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

Minnesota’s defense was solid throughout, forcing five turnovers and holding in key moments.

It was over when: Cobb broke through the line of scrimmage for a 16-yard touchdown run that gave Minnesota a 24-7 advantage with nine minutes remaining.

Key play: After Cobb fumbled at the goal line, junior defensive back Eric Murray intercepted a Blake Jurich pass to give Minnesota the ball near the red zone just before the first half ended. Minnesota’s offense capitalized when Streveler punched in a 1-yard quarterback sneak to push the Gophers’ lead to 17-7.

Five observations:

1. Minnesota can still run. When the Gophers played San Jose State last year, they put up 353 rushing yards. Saturday’s performance was reminiscent of that outing as Cobb and Streveler ran wild on the Spartans.

2. Minnesota still can’t pass. A consistent passing attack has been the missing ingredient for Minnesota, which has had a stout defense and a solid run game, for nearly all of head coach Jerry Kill’s tenure. On Saturday, things took a turn for the worse as the Gophers only completed one pass for 7 yards. That won’t fly in Big Ten play.

3. The Gophers relied on Cobb heavily. The senior tallied a career-high 34 carries, while Minnesota’s other running backs combined for five attempts.

4. Damien Wilson might be Minnesota’s best player. Ask most Gophers fans who Minnesota’s best player is and they’ll likely say Cobb. But Cobb’s cousin Wilson might be the Gophers’ biggest weapon. Wilson leads the team with 44 tackles this season — more than twice as many as any other player. Wilson also forced a fumble that he recovered himself.

5. Minnesota’s defense looks to “dominate.” After the game, defensive back Damarius Travis said the defense looks to “dominate everybody.” The Gophers held San Jose State to just seven points — Minnesota’s lowest tally since Nov. 10, 2012. Dominant, indeed.

Quote of the game: “Any time you can cause turnovers, you are going to have a great chance to win.” – Jerry Kill

Tweet of the game: “I’m a big #Gophers football fan & love Coach Kill. But if you can’t complete a pass, you ain’t winning a single Big Ten game.” – @bphof21

Up next: The Gophers travel to Michigan to face a reeling Wolverines team. Notre Dame shut out Michigan (2-2) earlier this month, and the Wolverines lost to Utah at home Saturday.