All-around performance lead Gophers past Indiana 35-14

A great day from both the Gophers offense and defense made for a convincing 35-14 victory

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Ethan Fine

Mar’kiese ‘Bucko’ Irving carries the ball down the field in a game against Nebraska on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021 at Huntington Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn.

by Tony Liebert, Sports Reporter

Minnesota traveled to Bloomington, Indiana for a late-season matchup with the Indiana Hoosiers. They left happy with a 35-14 win.

The Gophers’ offense came out of the locker room strong, and it seemed like they were going to go down the field and put some points on the board.

An 8:19 opening drive led by a strong start from Ky Thomas came to an abrupt halt after failing to convert a 4th & one deep in Indiana territory.

The Hoosiers took advantage of the momentum. With 12 total runs for 85 yards, their true freshman quarterback Donaven McCulley led the way with seven carries for 56 yards. McCulley’s touchdown is what ultimately put Indiana on top 7-0.

After exchanging punts to open the second quarter, Minnesota’s offense responded with another time-consuming 6:04 drive. This time the Gophers were able to punch in a touchdown from Ky Thomas, evening the game at seven.

The Gophers defense quickly made their slow start look like ancient history, forcing a third consecutive Indiana punt. The offense took advantage once again.

Senior tight end Brevyn Spann-Ford got open for a 48-yard reception down the sideline, setting up Ky Thomas’ second touchdown of the day, which gave the Gophers a 14-7 lead.

Indiana’s offense continued to struggle, this time giving the ball right back to Minnesota, as Tyler Nubin reeled in an interception.

Minnesota’s offensive momentum rolled on. A beautiful drive to end the half was finished on a spectacular Chris Autman-Bell touchdown reception, which gave the Gophers a 21-7 lead heading into the locker room.

The game started very slowly out of halftime, with three consecutive punts. Minnesota finally opened up the scoring with another patented long offensive drive. Chris Autman-Bell brought in his second touchdown of the day, extending Minnesota’s lead to 28-7.

Indiana’s offense continued to struggle, throwing another interception this time to senior Jordan Howden. The Gophers were not able to take advantage this time, as offense was hard to come by as three consecutive punts preceded the turnover.

Freshman running back Mar’Keise ‘Bucko’ Irving was able to get in the scoring column with a touchdown on the Gophers final substantial offensive drive, giving them a 35-7 lead.
After a slow start to the game, Minnesota’s defense made terrific adjustments giving Indiana serious problems. After recording 92 total yards on the opening drive of the game, the Hoosiers were able to only find 126 for the rest of the game.

After handling Indiana, Minnesota will shift its focus to a big matchup with arch-rival Wisconsin in the final week of the season at Huntington Bank Stadium.