Football team gets big kicks en route to 66

by Anthony Maggio

The formalities were completed. The contest was over.

However, talk afterwards was not centered on Minnesota’s 66-10 shellacking of Murray State on Saturday at the Metrodome. Instead, the team had another game on its mind.

Next weekend’s matchup with Ohio State.

“It’s one of those Big Ten matchups you dream about when you’re a kid,” safety Jack Brewer said. “You live for this type of game, and I’m excited already, I can’t wait.”

Defensive end Greg White said he started thinking of the Buckeyes just before Saturday’s game with the Racers began, but it’s obvious Minnesota hasn’t shaken thoughts of past meetings with Ohio State.

Wins and losses aside, the Gophers have battled for respect from the Buckeyes as long as the athletes can remember.

“Ohio State is always a big game,” wide receiver Antoine Burns said. “There’s always a lot of intensity with that game, because they didn’t show us any respect.”

The particular incident Burns referred to occurred two years ago at the Metrodome.

Ohio State kicked a field goal with 1:15 left in the game to take the lead and eventually beat Minnesota 20-17.

When the whistle blew, Ohio State walked off the field without shaking hands with the Gophers.

Coupled with Minnesota’s victory over the Buckeyes at the Horseshoe for the first time in 51 years last season, the lack of respect Ohio State showed the Gophers two seasons ago has given them confidence going into this week.

“We’re going to prepare like we’ve been for the last few weeks,” Burns said. “We’re going to go out and beat Ohio State next week.”

But if Minnesota wants to knock off the Buckeyes, there’s a lot of work to do.

A quick glance at Saturday’s statistics doesn’t show any evidence the Murray State game was a blowout.

In the first quarter, the Racers picked up more first downs and more passing yards than Minnesota.

“We got off to a shaky start,” coach Glen Mason said. “Especially defensively.”

Mason said he didn’t think his defense tackled well, and struggled with the draw play.

Overall, Murray State picked up 371 yards against the Gophers, 217 through the air.

Racers quarterback Stewart Childress went 19 of 38 for 205 yards on the day.

But the defense tightened the screws and didn’t allow a point on the board after the first quarter.

On offense, the Gophers earned 565 total yards, the most gained all season.

Seven different Gophers tallied at least one carry, and Minnesota finished with 307 yards rushing.

Tellis Redmon led the way on the ground, picking up 108 yards on 10 carries, including a 71 yard touchdown scamper – the longest run for a score since Arland Bruce went 73 yards to paydirt in 1999 at Iowa.

Redmon chuckled about his touchdown after the game.

“That was one of my hardest runs, I got pretty tired at the end,” Redmon said. “I’m just glad I made it in.”

The Gophers scored four rushing touchdowns on the day, including one by Thomas Tapeh, who hadn’t tallied a carry yet this season.

Four more touchdowns were scored through the air, with Burns hauling in 16 and 65-yard touchdown passes, respectively.

Quarterback Asad Abdul-Khaliq started his third straight game, and threw for 186 yards and three touchdowns on 14 of 17 passing. His performance will likely earn him the start against Ohio State, though Mason refused to tip his hand.

As for the defensive struggles, White offered somewhat of a challenge to the youthful group preparing for the Buckeyes.

“We’re looking forward to it,” White said. “Our team is young, we’ll see how fast they grow up.”