Almost a big day for Kamal Martin
If a couple plays would have gone his way, Gopher fans still would still be talking about true freshman Kamal Martin's impact on Saturday. Martin finished with a half sack and a half tackle for loss, but would have had a strip sack fumble if Steven Richardson left paw didn't clip the face-mask of the Indiana State quarterback. Throw in this play, and Martin should have had another sack, and we'd be talking about a heck of week for Kamal Martin.
With Carter Coughlin now healthy as well, both Martin and Coughlin are going to be big in terms of Minnesota getting to the quarterback.
Another "almost" run for Rodney Smith
Rodney Smith tweeted over the weekend that "the long runs will come", and this is one I think he'd like to have back. Garrison Wright and Connor Mayes open a nice lane for Smith to accelerate through. The sophomore makes a man miss and just seems to lose his balance heading into a shoe string tackle that ultimately trips him up. If he's able to keep his balance here, he's got a blocker down field with one more man to beat for a score.
Brian Smith's first career touchdown
Wasn't a television angle that showed anything better than this, so I apologize, but you'll see Brian Smith get an inside break on the defensive back at the top of the screen and work toward the center of the field. Leidner doesn't put it on the correct shoulder, but Smith makes the adjustment, turns up field and drags a defender for the score. A lot of hard work behind the scenes for Brian Smith, so happy to see him get his first career score.
Missed opportunity on defense
Couple things I want to talk about. Draw your attention to the top of the screen as the match-up is Kunle Ayinde on Robert Tonyan in the slot. Ayinde and outside corner Zo Craighton have no issues as the ISU receivers cross their routes, but it looks like Ayinde thought Tonyan was going to run a deep comeback, when he slips over the top up the seam. I also think that if Damarius Travis (#7) finds this ball sooner, he re-adjusts his route in front of the receiver, and high points this for an interception.
Ends up as a long gain none the less.
Tonyan does it again
Robert Tonyan Jr. is 6'5" and Antonio Shenault is 5'10", and Isaac Harker knew that and picked on the match-up. If you're Antonio Shenault is this situation, you have to get your head turned around once the receiver breaks on the fade route, so you can see the ball along with the wide receiver. Instead, Shenault tries to read Tonyan, and Harker makes a back shoulder throw in a perfect spot for the Sycamore touchdown.
Colton Beebe rumbles down the sideline
I made this GIF more of myself to be honest. As a former collegiate tight end, I love to see the position utilized and Colton Beebe makes a defender pay at the end. With Lingen out for at least a month, expect to see Beebe involved more in the passing game.
Third quarter score: Minnesota 48, Indiana State 21
McCrary starts off the quarter with a bang
Minnesota's first possession with Conor Rhoda at quarterback and the second offensive end, went pretty well I'd say. Kobe McCrary gets the hand-off on a zone stretch, sees a linebacker waiting for him in the hole, and cuts right to where Colton Beebe and right tackle Nick Connelly have opened a nice hole to run through. McCrary stiff arms a run and gets a great block downfield from Hunter Register to spring him on the 43 yard gain.
Kobe McCrary to the house, y'all
You have to give Kobe McCrary some love here for the jump cuts and the vision, but I also have to give a lot of props to his run blockers. You'll see Matt Leidner, Jared Weyler and Nick Connelly seal off the right side of the line, Connor Mayes get to the second level on linebacker and Donnell Greene wash down his defender as well, to initially spring McCrary. You'll then watch the top GIF as Melvin Holland (bottom of the screen) gets to the center of the field on a key block, Eric Carter makes one in the slot downfield and the Hunter Register seals off the final defender for the 50 yard touchdown. McCrary created, but he also had a ton of help here.
Merrick Jackson makes an appearance
This kind of play from DT Merrick Jackson is what you saw for a majority of the fourth quarter. A disruptive defensive tackle making plays. As he continues to progress with Jeff Phelps and Jay Sawvel, he'll continue to see more opportunities.
Good position, better throw
Here's the final touchdown of the game to WR Robert Tonyan. I actually believe that Zo Craighton is in pretty good to make a play here, but he turns his head to locate the ball just a second too late and Harker makes an even better throw for Tonyan to high point the ball for the score. Craighton playing in his first career game, was in the right spot, just didn't locate quick enough.