To wrap up the Gophers win over Colorado State on Saturday, GopherDigest is going to look at a few of the key plays from the game.
1) Boddy-Calhoun Interception
I can't think of a better way to start out a game on defense then a quick turnover. Great job by CB Briean Boddy-Calhoun to track the ball from the release and to grab the easy interception.
2) Steven Richardson Fumble Recovery
Early in the second quarter, both Alex Keith and Steven Richardson do a great job to force a fumble. Richardson doesn't let himself get reached by the center and gets penetration into the backfield, while Keith doesn't let himself get taken out by the pulling RG to force the Colorado State running back into the waiting arms of Steven Richardson who forces a key turnover for Minnesota.
3) Offensive line spring Smith for a long run
Have to think offensive line coach Matt Limegrover would be proud of the linemen here, especially RT Josh Campion. Campion does a great job of reaching, and then sealing the defensive end to set the edge for Rodney Smith's 26 yard run. Smith does a great job of setting up the safety showing some wiggle to turn the corner and get those extra yards. Also want to point out tight end Nate Wozniak (#80) here as well. You'll see him go toward the safety at the beginning of the play and he doesn't stop blocking all the way down field until he hears a whistle. Phenomenal effort there.
4) Wolitarsky turns on the jets for the touchdown
First thing I want to point out here again is tight end Nate Wozniak lined up in the slot. He absolutely eviscerates the Colorado State defender driving him five yards down field on the screen before pancaking him into the turf. WR KJ Maye also did well in getting out to the DB to occupy him just enough for the elusive Drew Wolitarsky to slip by and then turn on the jets for the Gophers first touchdown of the day.
5) Jalen Myrick interception
Not sure that a defensive back can play better coverage on a wide receiver than what Gophers corner Jalen Myrick did on this play. Stays right on the receivers hip for the first 15 yards, then turns his heads, locates the ball and makes the play for interception. Have to think defensive backs coach Jay Sawvel loved the play out of his junior corner there.
6) Steven Richardson dominating
Colorado State ending up recovering this fumble and kicking a field goal next play, but I wanted to show this to highlight the dominating day that Steven Richardson had. He crosses the center's face, hits the pulling guard, then recognizes that the QB has the ball on the read option and tears at the ball, forcing the fumble. Richardson finished the day with seven tackles, three tackles for loss, a sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery and a pass batted down, so hats off to the sophomore.
7) Nick Hart steps up
With Minnesota needs driving on their final drive of the fourth quarter, one of the key plays was a 2nd and 15 pass and catch from Leinder to walk-on tight end Nick Hart. I understand that Hart almost dropped it, but he regained his composure to secure the catch and turn up field to give Minnesota a manageable 3rd and 1. For a guy who really had not seen any significant game action, Hart stepped in well to fill the void left by Brandon Lingen going out with a concussion.
8) KJ Maye go ahead touchdown
This is the play that put Minnesota ahead with less than a minute to go in regulation. Wanted to highlight out and up route by KJ Maye as he uses a nice headfake and side step to then get skinny around the defensive back who tries to get his hands on him. Quarterback Mitch Leidner puts the ball on the money for a critical touchdown late.
9) Antonio Johnson's PI call
This call was brutal. Minnesota's wide receivers can't get any pass interference calls through the first two games and Big Ten refs call a little hand-checking against Gophers safety Antonio Johnson here. Plain and simple, it's a awful call.
10) Cody Poock's piledriver
Gophers linebacker Cody Poock absolutely smoked the Colorado State running back to force a turnover on the first play of overtime. Luckily, DT Scott Ekpe was in the right place at the right time to recover, but a heck of a explosion out of his back pedal to close quickly and hit the running back as he was turning around.