Rapid Recap: NMSU at Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS — GoldenSports.net recaps this afternoon's 28-21 loss to the New Mexico State Aggies, highlighting the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Good: Wide receiver Da'Jon McKnight finished the game with 9 catches for 146 yards and a touchdown. His 146 receiving yards was a career high for the senior receiver. McKnight was clearly the Gophers' go-to wide receiver and came up with some spectacular catches and plays when the offense needed it. He did have a key drop early in the second half but was very consistent throughout the entire game.

The Gophers offensive line protection was also very good. The Aggies were able to put some pressure on to the Gopher quarterbacks but were mostly held at bay. Most of the pressure the Aggies were able to apply was on designed roll-outs. The protection allowed MarQueis Gray and Max Shortell time to find open receivers downfield.

The Bad: The Gophers struggled all game long to get a respectable running game going. The best runs came mostly from the quarterbacks on scrambles or roll-outs. The Minnesota offensive line looked good in pass protection but failed to open holes for Duane Bennett or Lamonte Edwards. The Gophers' running backs finished with 36 yards on 16 carries while the quarterbacks ended the game with 132 yards rushing. Although the Gophers ended the game with 182 yards on the ground, the offensive line will need to more push up front to jumpstart the Minnesota running attack.

On the defensive side of the ball the Gophers front seven gave up big runs late in the game. They had many missed assignments in the running game and allowed the Aggies to run for over 100 yards after having rushed for just six yards in their game last week against the Ohio Bobcats. Even though the Gophers were able to stuff some rushing plays, they allowed a number of longer runs that ultimately helped sink Minnesota on Saturday.

The Ugly: Coming into the game they Gophers knew they would be facing a good quarterback and a solid group of receivers. What they didn't know was that Manley would start off the game 12 for 12 with over 180 yards through the air. The defensive line was able to put some pressure on Manley but he was able to get the ball away and find the open receiver. The Gophers' secondary was scorched all day giving up chunks of yards at a time. Because of the success the Aggies had through the air, it definitely made an impact on how the Gophers attempted to defend the run.

My Take: This is a game that the Gophers should have won and will be kicking themselves about the result all week. This is a huge step back for the Gophers after last week's performance and they will have to regroup quickly as the take on Miami (OH), a team that is considered one of the favorites to win the MAC.

Obviously what's bigger than today's result is the health of head coach Jerry Kill who collapsed with 20 seconds left in the game. Coach Kill is now in stable condition and it appears that he will make a full recovery.


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