Rapid Recation: NDSU at Minnesota

The Bison of North Dakota State dropped the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Saturday 37-24. GoldenSports.net recaps what was good, was bad and what was downright ugly.

The Good: The Gopher running backs really stepped up in the game tallying 147 yards on 24 combined touches. The talented rushing attack was highlighted in a 10-play 95-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter in which Gopher running backs ripped off runs of 23, 13 and 30 yards. The backs did a great job of getting north and south as quickly as possible to pick up positive yards on almost all of their runs.

The Bad: The Gopher pass rush failed to put much, if any, pressure on the Bison quarterback allowing Brock Jensen to exploit the Gophers' secondary for 197 yards and only five incompletions in 21 attempts. With tonight's performance the Gopher defense has just one sack against teams like New Mexico State, Miami (Ohio) and NDSU. If the defense cannot put any pressure on opposing quarterbacks, it will allow teams to pick the Gopher's secondary apart.

Penalties, this is was making a bid to be placed in the ugly section due to the number of penalties which kept NDSU drives alive especially in the first half. The Gopher defense had a Chance Early on to force Bison off of the field with third down stops but penalties such as the illegal hands to the face by Tinsley kept drive alive and ultimately, in my opinion, set the tone for the rest of the game.

The Ugly: Gophers quarterbacks finished just 9 for 20 for 124 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. MarQueis Gray, after playing so well in the first half against Miami (Ohio) last week, carried over his poor finish from last week's game into Saturday's game. He looked at lost at times. Most of the Bison sacks against Gray came when he was indecisive in the pocket and didn't get rid of the ball quickly enough.

My Take: This was an ugly loss for the Gophers who definitely had the opportunity to make a statement in this game. For once the Gophers jumped out to an early 7-0 lead against a lesser opponent. They appeared ready for NDSU, especially when the defense had stopped a Bison drive on a third and long, only to give up a first down with a penalty. Rather than forcing a three-and-out and getting the Gopher offense back on the field, the Bison were allowed to remain on the field and finish out the first quarter with a touchdown. Had the Gopher's forced a three and out at that point who knows how the game could have turned out, but by giving NDSU a second chance on their first drive, I believe it completely changed how this game ended up playing out.

This year's Gopher squad is now sitting at 1-3 finishing the non-conference slate with a lot of questions that need to be answered and need to be answered quickly as the Big Ten kicks-off next week against Michigan.


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