ans treated to offensive display

With 2:31 left in Minnesota’s 44-10 rout of Illinois on Saturday, the student section at the Metrodome began celebrating the Gophers final touchdown.
Forty-four seconds later the students — waving yellow pompoms –had to regain their collective breath.
Counting every single Minnesota point is a tradition for the students at home games. And with the Gophers piling up points on the Illini, the weekly fall task was tougher than normal.
The students can thank quarterback Travis Cole and running back Tellis Redmon for a long day of math lessons.
The pair of offensive stars were both backups a week ago. But after a poor performance and a minor injury to the respective Gophers starters, Asad Abdul-Khaliq and Thomas Tapeh, Cole and Redmon got the call.
Against Illinois, they didn’t let any of the pompom wavers down, as Cole and Redmon each scored two touchdowns in the first half to put the game away.
“We’ve been behind in every game, and we had to start fast,” Gophers coach Glen Mason said of Minnesota’s ability to get on the scoreboard early. The Gophers had scored just 10 first-quarter points all season.
Cole, a junior college transfer, accounted for the first two Minnesota touchdowns. The first came 10 minutes into the game on a 1-yard quarterback sneak.
Cole then added a 7-yard keeper with less than a minute left in the first quarter when he dove at the corner of the end zone. He was second on the team behind Redmon with 82 yards rushing on 13 carries.
Redmon got going in the second quarter with a pair of touchdowns coming on runs of 3 and 20 yards. He finished the afternoon with 183 yards on 31 carries.
“I was just going back to what the coaches said: `Run hard and make the first guy miss,'” said Redmon, who also had three receptions for 116 yards. “That’s what I was doing all game.”
The most telling stat on the day was the 265 yards rushing Cole and Redmon combined for, a huge chunk of the Gophers 546 total yards. To Illinois coach Ron Turner, the Gophers 364 yards on the ground seemed to be much greater.
“I didn’t expect them to run for 800 yards or whatever the hell they ran for,” Turner said. “If you can’t stop the run, you’re not going to win many games.”
Both Mason and Cole credited the entire offensive attack — starting with the offensive line — with Minnesota’s ability to dominate the scoring.
“From the linemen to receivers to running backs to the quarterback, we all executed,” said Cole, who was 8 of 13 for 170 yards in the air. “When we execute great things happen and we can put up numbers like we did.”
Redmon said the Gophers offensive line played as well as he had seen all year, allowing Cole to be sacked just once and Redmon to scamper through holes as wide as the Mississippi River.
He also added when the line plays like they did against Illinois, the tailbacks can do their thing.
“All we want to do is pound, pound and keep on pounding (the ball),” Redmon said. “That’s what we love to do.”
It’s clear now Minnesota has fixed its quarterback controversy –Cole appears likely to get the call from here on out over freshman Abdul-Khaliq.
The question now dancing in Mason’s mind is who will start at running back: Redmon or Tapeh, who had 183 yards in the Baylor game.
Asked if he has a running back controversy, Mason replied with “I hope so.”

John R. Carter covers football and welcomes comments at [email protected]