Tyler Johnson had a quiet first quarter Friday night, with the Gophers receiver having no catches and not even being targeted by quarterback Tanner Morgan.
The rest of Johnson’s night, however, was quite eventful.
The junior caught five passes for 102 yards and touchdowns of 8 and 18 yards as the Gophers defeated Indiana 38-31 at TCF Bank Stadium. The former Minneapolis North standout posted his sixth 100-yard receiving game of the season, and fourth consecutive. Both of those marks tie Minnesota records.
In addition, Johnson became the 15th Gopher to amass 100 career receptions, a mark he reached with his 18-yard TD catch with 35 seconds left in the first half for a 21-9 Minnesota lead.
“That’s what he does,’’ Gophers coach P.J. Fleck said of Johnson’s production.
One of Johnson’s biggest plays came with the Gophers leading 14-9 but pinned at their 1-yard line following an Indiana punt. On second down, Johnson got loose over the middle and caught a pass for a 52-yard gain to the Indiana 45. Only a shoestring tackle by Hoosiers safety Juwan Burgess kept him from scoring.
Not all was perfect for Johnson, who missed most of the fourth quarter because of a leg injury that Fleck termed as day-to-day.
“He was OK. It just started stiffening up on him,’’ Fleck said.
Brooks makes debut
With running back Mohamed Ibrahim, the team’s leading rusher, out because of injury, Bryce Williams got the start against Indiana, but it was senior Shannon Brooks who made the biggest impact in the running game in his season debut.
Brooks rushed 22 times for 154 yards, including a 17-yard touchdown run that put the Gophers up 31-9 in the third quarter. But he also lost two fumbles and left the game because of an apparent right knee injury in the third quarter. Shortly before spring practice, Brooks suffered a torn ACL in his left knee.
Fleck said he didn’t have an update the status of Brooks, who was helped off the field after a 27-yard gain early in the fourth quarter.
Brooks’ status was uncertain following his Oct. 14 arrest for an incident in which he allegedly assaulted his roommate. He has not been charged, and the Minneapolis City Attorney’s office still is investigating, Sarah McKenzie, spokeswoman for the city attorney’s office, said Friday. McKenzie added that more information likely would be available next week.
Fleck said he and athletic director Mark Coyle decided to suspend Brooks for last week’s game at Nebraska.
“The decision was made on Thursday to play him this week,’’ Fleck said. “We did not start him as well.’’
Fleck said the situation is still evolving.
“If things change, that could change,’’ the coach said of Brooks’ status.
Fleck planned to play Brooks just four games this season to preserve a year of eligibility for 2019.
• Defensive tackle O.J. Smith missed his third consecutive game because of a head injury. Defensive back Antonio Shenault also missed the game because of a head injury.
• Friday’s announced attendance of 33,273 is the lowest in the history of TCF Bank Stadium. The previous low was 38,162 on Nov. 19, 2016, against Northwestern.