Upon further review: Minnesota at Colorado State
Things weren’t looking good for Minnesota. Needing a touchdown but buried back at its own 5-yard line with just over three minutes left was bad enough, but the Gophers would have to rely on quarterback Mitch Leidner, who that point had thrown more incomplete passes than complete ones.
But Leidner did just that — leading Minnesota down for a go-ahead score, running twice for 16 yards and completing 5 of 9 passes, including a clutch grab by Nate Wozniak on fourth-and-6.
Now, the defense would allow a game-tying field goal as time wound down, but the Gophers would prevail in overtime after forcing a fumble and then kicking a game-winning 18-yard field goal.
Things certainly looked good for the Gophers all the way back to Minnesota.
— K.J. Maye remains a go-to big play receiver. He only had 54 yards receiving, but that includes a great grab on the above-mentioned go-ahead touchdown with 55 seconds remaining. However, he was injured and didn’t play in overtime. Head coach Jerry Kill sounded worried about his future status.
— There’s no doubt Rodney Smith is Minnesota’s bellcow. The freshman had 21 carries while Rodrick Williams had but six.
— Minnesota is still intent on using two quarterbacks, although we can’t fathom why. When Chris Streveler comes in everyone is looking for the run. Streveler had three carries against Colorado State for 5 yards. He did not pass. In two years, Streveler has passed just 11 times — seven came in one game against San Jose State, which also is the last time he’s thrown a pass. In his last three games, Streveler has rushed nine times for 26 yards with zero passes.
— Craig James learned the hard way a fair-catch signal can’t be rescinded. His 67-yard return for a TD was overturned when the refs ruled he had made the call.
— Head coach Jerry Kill admitted Leidner made mistakes, but then added how could he complain after that great long drive at the end of the game. Still, a more consistent Leidner would solve a lot of issues (and limit a lot of heartburn).
— Minnesota ended Colorado State’s school-record nine-game home winning streak.
— De’Vondre Campbell sat out the first quarter due to a team rules violation.
— Kicker Ryan Santoro missed a 47-yard attempt which at the time was crushing, but he made three others: 35, 50 and the game-winner from 18.
— Freshman running back Shannon Brooks got his first chance to carry the ball and then he and Leidner muffed the zone-read play for a fumble. He didn’t get another shot. Welcome to college, kid.
— Minnesota won the coin toss in overtime and did what teams do: chose to play defense first. The move really paid off after the Rams fumbled.
A road win against a pretty good team is always good. But having Leidner execute a 95-yard drive and seeing the team not fold after giving up the tying score before winning in overtime are things that can carry over and propel a season.
So many candidates, but we’re going to go with wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky, who had a career-best game with nine catches — including several clutch grabs — for 114 yards with a touchdown.
The final drive in regulation by Colorado State hurt, but the defense played well and easily the leader of that bunch was Steven Richardson, who had a seven tackles (tied for most on the team) — all solo — with three tackles for loss, a sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery, QB hurry and pass broken up.
Lots of big plays in this one, but the fumble forced in overtime by Cody Poock sealed Colorado State’s fate. All Minnesota had to do was score. The Gophers took no chances. They just ran, ran, ran, ran, ran to the 1 and then got the chip shot field goal to win it.
108. The rushing yards for Rodney Smith, the most by a Minnesota freshman since 2008.
"You got to win on the road, and it’s not always pretty." — Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill
"He’s the toughest guy on this football team pound for pound. Just an unfortunate incident." — Colorado head coach Mike Bobo on the overtime fumble by Dalyn Dawkins.
"That touchdown to KJ (Maye) I walked into huddle and said to the guys here it is, let’s make it happen. Luckily having a player like KJ to make the play is huge." — Minnesota quarterback Mitch Leidner
Minnesota returns home Saturday for an 11 a.m. game against Kent State, which is coming off a 45-13 win over FCS Delaware State. In Week 1, the Golden Flashes had their initial game at Illinois postponed a day due to weather then were thumped 52-3.
- Chris Streveler
- Cody Poock
- Colorado State Rams
- Craig James
- Dalyn Dawkins
- De'Vondre Campbell
- Drew Wolitarsky
- FOX Sports North
- KJ Maye
- Minnesota Golden Gophers
- Mitch Leidner
- Nate Wozniak
- Rodney Smith
- Shannon Brooks
- Steven Richardson