For the second consecutive week, a Gophers game was delayed because of lightning.
Saturday’s 7 p.m. kickoff against No. 21 Michigan State was delayed 34 minutes because of nearby lightning strikes. Heavy rain hit TCF Bank Stadium shortly after the delay, which occurred just as the marching band was to play the national anthem.
Fans were instructed to move to the concourse for shelter after the lightning strikes.
Last week, the Gophers-Purdue game was delayed 1 hour, 28 minutes when a thunderstorm hit West Lafayette, Ind.
The weather delay was the second in TCF Bank history. The first was Sept. 20, 2014, against San Jose State.
Weyler, McGhee return
Hampered by injuries and absences during the first two games of Big Ten play, the Gophers got two starters back in their lineup.
Center Jared Weyler returned after missing three games because of a foot injury, and that enabled the Gophers to move Conner Olson to left guard. Donnell Greene started at left tackle, while Vincent Calhoun started at right guard, with Garrison Wright at right tackle with Nick Connelly out because of injury. Calhoun limped off the field in the first half and was replaced by Quinn Oseland.
In the secondary, senior safety Duke McGhee returned to the starting lineup after missing the past two games because of a disciplinary suspension. Sophomore safety Antoine Winfield Jr. remained out because of a hamstring injury, and Jacob Huff started in his place. At cornerback, Adekunle Ayinde started opposite Antonio Shenault.
McGhee made a quick impact, intercepting Brian Lewerke at the Michigan State 34 in the first quarter. That set up a 47-yard field goal by Emmit Carpenter.
Gophers tight end Brandon Lingen left the game in the second quarter because of an ankle injury. Running back Shannon Brooks left because of a leg injury but returned.
Four-star recruit visits
Among the recruits visiting the Gophers was Alex Reigelsperger, a four-star defensive end from Wayne High School in Dayton, Ohio. The 6-4, 247-pound senior decommitted from Kentucky earlier in the week. “Setting sail for Minnesota! Here I come!!’’ Reigelsperger tweeted.
According to 247 Sports, Reigelsperger has 16 scholarship offers from Power Five schools, including the Gophers, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Purdue, Rutgers and Wisconsin.
Also in attendance was Lakeville North offensive tackle Bryce Benhart, a highly coveted in-state recruit for the Class of 2019.
• Former Gopher Karl Mecklenburg, a six-time Pro Bowler for the Denver Broncos, addressed the team at breakfast Saturday morning.
• As part of their Tackle Cancer game, the Gophers wore two cancer awareness ribbons on the back of their helmets. One was dedicated to Declan Leehan, a 2-year-old the team had befriended at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital. Declan died in August.
• The Gophers entered the game with the eighth-fewest penalties nationally and the fewest in the Big Ten, with 21 for 203 yards. Last year through five games, they ranked 114th nationally and 12th in the Big Ten.