Upon further review: vs. Indiana
Good teams don't let opportunities against weak sisters slip through their grasp. Instead, they hand out sympathy-free beatings. That's just the script Minnesota followed in beating Indiana 55-7.
The triumph was the Gophers' most lopsided Big Ten victory since 1949. Seven different players pounded the ball into the end zone as Glen Mason's team readied itself for the stretch run against Wisconsin and Iowa.
The running game — as usual — was totally dominant.
Minnesota ran the football 62 times for 435 yards. Once again, an array of Minnesota running backs got the job done.
Freshman RB Laurence Maroney is rapidly becoming the most dangerous of the Gopher running backs. He carried 18 times for 164 yards and was far quicker than the Indiana defense. Marion Barber carried 17 times for 107 yards and scored a touchdown. FB Thomas Tapeh continued with the assault by running for 65 yards and two touchdowns. Even WR Jared Ellerson got into the act by scoring on a 13-yard run midway through the third quarter.
A win this week against Wisconsin will give them Gophers their first nine-win season 1905.
Minnesota also got a touchdown from the defense. Strong safety Justin Fraley blitzed and hit Indiana quarterback Graeme McFarland, popping the ball loose. FS John Pawielski picked it up and ran 22 yards for a touchdown four plays into the game.
While defense is not Minnesota's strong point, the Gophers have shown all year that they are an opportunistic bunch.
GAME BALL GOES TO: RB Laurence Maroney — After running for 179 yards against Illinois, Maroney followed up with a 164-yard effort against Indiana. While the Gophers have a stable of great running backs, Maroney might be the best of the bunch. He runs with speed and has a tremendous burst when he gets through an opening.
KEEP YOUR EYE ON: FB Thomas Tapeh — He has been the Gophers' unsung hero for the past two seasons. He is an outstanding blocker, but he also gets the job done when asked to run the ball. Tapeh had 65 yards and two touchdowns in the rout of Indiana.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "November is the month to remember. We've won two in a row after we lost two in a row. We needed those two wins to get our confidence back. I think we've proved that we have it back. Hopefully, we can build on that next week versus Wisconsin." — Minnesota DT Darrell Reid, in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
LOOKING GOOD: The Gophers did not have the diversified offense that they showed in their win the previous week at Illinois, but the running game was superb. Minnesota has clearly gotten over its heartbreaking losses to Michigan and Michigan State. This team still has a legitimate chance of playing in a New Year's Day bowl game.
STILL NEEDS SOME WORK: The Gophers committed seven penalties for 80 yards. While that clearly did not hurt them against Indiana, they could have a problem if they continue to struggle in that area in the last two games of the regular season.
INJURY IMPACT: Sophomore nose tackle Anthony Montgomery injured his right ankle in the first half and didn't return. He was seen on the sideline with his right foot heavily wrapped.
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