Stay in your lane
Defensive tackle Steven Richardson was called for holding on this play as he tackles the center into the running back trying to make the play, but that's the not the point of this GIF. Watch Cody Poock here as he should be in an ideal position to make the play, but he just over-pursues opening a lane for the Rams running back to run through. This should have been a minimal gain, but was such the theme all day when there as a big play, just a missed assignment or play results in a big gain for Colorado State.
Minnesota has to clean up these cut back lanes as with Penn State's Saquon Barkley next, these gains will get even bigger if the Gophers linebackers don't stay disciplined.
Jay Johnson, you sneaky man
Offensive coordinator Jay Johnson is someone I'm quickly becoming very impressed with. Colorado State sits back in zone as Minnesota runs two vertical routes with Brian Smith on the outside and Drew Wolitarsky on the inside. The linebacker passes Drew off to the corner, but Smith is continuing to vertical runs him off, and allows Drew to cut off his route to the outside with a giant window for Leidner to throw too.
Big fan of the route combinations on display thus far.
Shannon Brooks scoffs at shoulder tacklers
People do know that Gophers running back Shannon Brooks is about the last person you want to try and tackle high, and with only a shoulder, right?
Minnesota runs power here and again, love the blocking setup. Tight end Nate Wozniak does away with the Colorado State edge defender and H back Colton Beebe meets the linebacker in the hole, drives him back five yards and then promptly puts him on his keister. Left tackle Garrison Wright washes down the tackle and Jared Weyler pulls around, seals the edge and then holds his block down field.
Obviously, Shannon Brooks started to regain his old form here in the second half, and this is vintage Shannon. From the press box, if Brooks didn't dance on the hashes and just went north and south, he may have housed it, but I'll be lenient since it was his first game.
I expect to see a lot more runs like this from Brooks going forward.
Brooks find pay dirt
From the looks of it, the lone Ram safety across the top was in man coverage with H back Colton Beebe coming across the formation, which put him out of this play. Tight end Nate Wozniak holds his block on the edge and Shannon Brooks runs to daylight off the edge and Connor Mayes is able to get enough of the linebacker to hold him there.
Minnesota takes a 10 point lead once again.
Defenders need to meet at the quarterback
Like the stunt a lot here from Jay Sawvel here in the 2-4-5, and my reasoning for putting this GIF in here is Julian Huff needs to get home to the quarterback.
It's tough to see here on the GIF, but once Huff bursts through the line untouched, he chops his feet and breaks down as if Hill was going to fun somewhere, and that allows Hill just a split second more to set his feet and deliver an accurate throw to his wideout. Huff shouldn't have slowed down and Hill should have been feeling Huff's helmet in the middle of his rib cage.
Jalen Myrick didn't play this great as he was a little slow out of his break, but this is just me being nit picky.
Third quarter score: Minnesota 24, Colorado State 17
Wheel routes are undefeated
Rodney Smith continued his strong play on Saturday in the GIF above.
Colorado State blitzes the corner and with Leidner going play-action and having his back turned, without a chip from Smith here, this could have been bad. With the chip, Leidner's able to get a few more seconds and Smith's able to run a wheel route, even though the Rams linebacker is sitting back into the zone perfectly. Leidner lofts it over the top and Smith makes the nice play on the ball.
Minnesota goes up two scores
Gophers attempt to run power here, but Colorado State overloads the box and they're able to compensate for it as Connor Mayes gets the blitzing linebacker and Jonah Pirsig chips the linebacker enough to where Rodney Smith can dive forward for the score.
Steven Richardson is Minnesota's Aaron Donald
This is one of my favorite plays of Minnesota's season thus far.
Steven Richardson lined up against the center, immediately blows him back five yards and ends up meeting the quarterback / running back at the mesh point causing the running back to go lateral, and not vertical. Damarius Travis ends up getting the credit for a tackle for loss here, but Richardson clearly did all the work, and this didn't could as one of his four tackles for loss on Saturday. A truly outstanding performance from the junior from Illinois.
Minnesota and defending the screen
It's no secret that through three games, Minnesota's had some issues defending the screen. From watching this play as one example, it's not like there's something schematically preventing Minnesota from succeeding.
They rush four guys, but if you're rushing here, you have to be thinking screen. So if an offensive lineman is letting you go by, there's probably a reason.
Cody Poock sees the play developing and breaks on it, but misses the tackle. Corner Antonio Shenault sees the play develop, and misses the tackle. Jonathan Celestin has to come from across the formation to make the play, but these big screen gains are just the result of missed tackles. Poock gets him initially and it's 4th and 18 instead of 4th and 5, which leads me to....
Gophers head coach Tracy Claeys talked about after on how there should have been a man there to prevent that play from happening, and it appears that man should have been Eric Amoako. He's lined up on the far right of your screen and for those who don't have rush responsibilities like Jaylen Waters, it looks like everyone else is in man coverage. Amoako sees his guy go away and then stays there, but credit to Colorado State for executing this.
I'm also sure if you asked Tracy Claeys or Jay Sawvel here, they would have kept the defense on the field here knowing that a fourth and short down two scores in the fourth is a great spot for a fake here.
Is what it is, and Minnesota will move on.
Steven Richardson fan club
Just want to again highlight the day that Steven Richardson had. He drives the center back once again meets the running back three yards deep in the backfield and gets him down for the tackle for loss.
When Richardson is healthy, he's an absolute All-Big Ten player.
The Rams make it a game once again
Cody Poock puts the Colorado State running back on his buttock, but Collin Hill is still able to get the throw off to the front pylon to where Michael Gallup makes a nice adjustment on the ball for the score. Jalen Myrick's position here in fine, but you'll notice near the goal line, he locates the ball, and by then it's too late and it's a touchdown.
Ayinde comes through on fourth down
Kunle Ayinde had thoughts of green grass ahead of him when he jumped the out route here, but he'll have to settle for a pass defended. Ayinde reads the break out of the Rams TE's cut and makes a nice play on the ball.
Ayinde had an up and down day Saturday, but it was nice to see him make a play here late.
Brooks is gaining momentum
If Drew Wolitarsky holds his block here, I'm not so sure that Shannon Brooks doesn't score here.
I have no idea how Shannon Brooks found daylight there, but he bowled over two linebackers and was looking for more when the corner finally got him.
Brooks looked to be feeling pretty damn good in the second half, and I'm expecting big things from Shannon this season.