Tai’yon Devers made another huge hit Saturday, forcing yet another fumble, and electrifying the crowd at TCF Bank Stadium, as the Gophers jumped to a 17-7 lead over Colorado State by halftime.
Devers, a true freshman defensive end, drilled Rams quarterback Collin Hill late in the second quarter, knocking Hill’s helmet off as the ball bounced loose. Gaelin Elmore recovered the fumble for Minnesota, who turned it into a field goal.
Devers has now forced three fumbles on sacks this season. He did it twice in the season opener against Oregon State.
The Gophers were in position to break the game open after Devers’ fumble. They led 14-7 got a first down at Colorado State’s 2-yard line. To that point on the season, Minnesota had 11 touchdowns in 11 trips to the red zone.
But the Rams stopped Rodney Smith on two runs, and Mitch Leidner once, forcing a field goal.
Leidner threw his first interception of the season with 53 seconds left in the half, giving Colorado State a good chance to trim the lead. The Rams took over in Minnesota territory and lined up a 46-yard field goal attempt, but shanked the kick.
Leidner was 8-for-11 for 87 yards, with seven carries for 41 yards and a touchdown. Shannon Brooks made his 2016 debut, rushing four carries for 17 yards. Rodney Smith led all rushers with 12 carries for 83 yards and a touchdown.