Minnesota used a dominating first half performance to eliminate any thoughts of an upset at the hands of the Sycamores. The Gophers took a 38-7 lead to the locker room due to the play of quarterback Mitch Leidner. The senior signal caller was impressive in the opening half, completing 15 of 22 passes for 232 yards and three touchdowns. Leidner hit Drew Wolitarsky for a pair of touchdown strikes (20 and 6) and later hit Tyler Johnson (13) for the first half hat trick.
Leidner's strong play carried over to the second half as he lead the Gophers to three scoring drives in three possessions. The first resulted in a 44-yard field goal from Emmit Carpenter, the second ended after he connected with Brian Smith on a 22-yard touchdown pass and the third gave Minnesota three more points on a Carpenter 45-yard field goal.
Leidner's day ended after three second half possessions as he gave way to back-up Conor Rhoda with 11:45 left in the fourth quarter.
The day didn't completely belong to Leidner. Gophers fans were also introduced to another strong running back, to add to the stable of Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks, by the name of Kobe McCrary. The junior college transfer carried the ball 17 times for 176 yards and two touchdowns, highlighted by a 50-yard triple cutback run early in the fourth quarter.
The Gophers are off next week and will use their early season bye week to prepare for the nonconference season finale against Colorado State Rams on September 24. The Gophers open Big Ten play three weeks from today in Happy Valley against the Penn State Nittany Lions.
- The 58 point scores by the Gophers is the most for Minnesota since a 63-26 win against Indiana on November 4th, 2006. The point total is the most scored in a game at TCF Bank Stadium. The Gophers had scored 51 vs Iowa during 2014 and 51 vs UNLV during 2013.
- Minnesota's 31 first downs marked the first time the Gophers had more than 30 in a game since having 31 first vs Toledo on September 4th, 2004.
- Minnesota improved to 5-0 (4-0 at home) since 2012 when wearing today's uniform combination of Gold helmets, Maroon jerseys and Gold pants.
- Minnesota finished the game 5-for-5 in the Red Zone after going 4-for-4 on Red Zone possessions against Oregon State. All nine Minnesota trips inside the Red Zone this season have resulted in touchdowns.
- Minnesota had three wide receivers with touchdown catches for the first time since September 11th, 2010. That day, MarQueis Gray Da'Jon McKnight and Troy Stoudemire each had touchdown receptions.
- Quarterback Mitch Leidner now has 32 career touchdown passes. He moved past Billy Cockerham (29 TDs, 1996-99) into seventh on Minnesota's all-time list.
- Kobe McCrary's 176 yards rushing was the fourth-best total in the history of TCF Bank Stadium. It topped Shannon Brooks' 174-yard effort last year against Illinois
- The Gophers finished with 292 rushing yards, marking their first 200-yard rushing effort since having 255 yards vs Illinois on November 21st, 2015.