Gophers Scrape Out Nail-Biter vs SDSU in 2019 Opener

Photo: @GopherFootball - Twitter

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It was a beautiful night at the University of Minnesota campus; one of those nights that makes you thank god/aliens that we have outdoor college football again. And the crowd showed up early, and in good numbers, just like Fleck asked them to. Life was good, leading up to kickoff.

But when kickoff took place, things slowed down in a hurry.

The Gophers looked sloppy out of the gate and struggled mightily to move the ball up and down the field. SDSU started the game with a double reverse that got their run game going early. Good thing J’Bore Gibbs can’t throw the ball because if the Jackrabbits couldn’t run for a first down in the first half… they weren’t getting one.

The action opened up in the 2nd quarter when Rashod Bateman took over. He caught 5 total passes in the 1st half, totaling 132 yards and one of the most beautiful touchdown catches you’ll see all season, at any level…

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After a 15 yard penalty on the extra point, for illegal hands to the face, the Gophers missed the backed-up kick and took a 13-7 lead into halftime. SDSU got their 7 points in the 2nd quarter too, when they drove 66 yards on 6 plays and scored off of a J.Bore Gibbs 1-yard TD run. But the Gophers definitely entered halftime with the momentum, after Bateman’s one-handed TD snag.

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2nd Half

The second half started out just as good as the first half ended, when the Chris Williamson, who didn’t have a starting CB spot entering camp, picked J’Bore Gibbs off and returned it to the house for six. That put the Gophers up 20-7 and life was looking pretty damn good… until it wasn’t. 

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After this pick-6, the Jackrabbits and Gophers were different football teams. The Gophers couldn’t move the ball, all of a sudden, and they couldn’t stop the SDSU rushing attack. Throw in a couple of beautiful play calls from the SDSU offensive coordinator, that lead to big pass plays, and before you knew it… the Gophers were losing 20-21, and their 2019 season outlook was suddenly in question as we entered the 4th quarter.

We were all on pins and needles as we watched the 4th quarter unfold and some fans even headed for the exits early… but then, just when the Gophers needed to force a turnover the most… it happened…

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After the fumble, the Gophers remembered they were playing an FCS team. They gave the ball to Rodney Smith repeatedly and he rumbled, bumbled, and stumbled his way to the SDSU goaline before Mo Ibrahim finished the job. Then it was time for a little Minny Special, to erase the earlier missed extra point.

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It wasn’t pretty… but the Gophers got the job done. Only time will tell how formidable of an opponent SDSU was…

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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