Minnesota dominates Michigan State in Big Ten opener
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Tanner Morgan threw for 268 yards and three touchdowns and Mohamed Ibrahim rushed for 103 yards and a score to lead Minnesota to a 34-7 rout over struggling Michigan State in the Big Ten opener for both schools.
The Gophers (4-0) are off to their best start since they began the 2019 season 9-0. Minnesota dominated Michigan State (2-2) on both sides of the ball, outgaining the Spartans on offense 508-240 while also grabbing two interceptions and a fumble.
Michigan State appeared ready to rally from a 17-point deficit at the start of the second half by driving to the Minnesota 5-yard line but Thomas Rush punched the ball free from quarterback Payton Thorne and Justin Walley made the recovery.
The Spartans avoided the shutout when backup quarterback Noah Kim tossed a 27-yard touchdown pass to Germie Bernard with 17 seconds left.
The Gophers scored on their first three possessions to go up 17-0.
Ibrahim, who extended his streak of 100-plus rushing yards to 13 games, broke Minnesota’s all-time rushing touchdown record with a 2-yard run off the opening drive. It was his 41st rushing score, breaking a tie with former Gophers running back Darrell Thompson.
Morgan, who completed 23 of 26 passes for 268 yards, capped off the next drive when he hit Daniel Jackson with a 23-yard touchdown pass. Matthew Trickett followed with a 26-yard field goal.
Morgan added a 6-yard touchdown pass to tight end Nick Kallerup in the third quarter and a 4-yard scoring pass to Jackson early in the fourth quarter. Trickett closed the Gophers' scoring with a 22-yard field goal.
Minnesota: The Gophers showed why they are considered the frontrunner to win the West Division. Facing their toughest opponent so far, Minnesota dominated in all phases of the game.
Michigan State: The Spartans’ pass defense for the second straight game struggled in coverage. Morgan completed 12 passes in the first half of 10 yards or more.
The Gophers will likely be ranked after being among the unranked teams with the most votes in the AP Top 25.
Minnesota: Hosts Purdue on Oct. 1 in a key Big Ten West game and then has a bye week.
Michigan State: Goes on the road Oct. 1 to play Maryland and follows with a brutal three-game stretch that includes Ohio State, Wisconsin and Michigan.
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