Mitch Leidner returned from a concussion and led three first-quarter touchdown drives Saturday, as the Gophers built a 21-10 halftime lead over Rutgers on homecoming at TCF Bank Stadium.
Leidner suffered a concussion Oct. 8 against Iowa and missed last week’s game against Maryland, as Conor Rhoda led the team to a 31-10 victory.
Listed as “out” on the team’s injury report Tuesday, Leidner cleared the concussion protocol later in the week. Coach Tracy Claeys had said it was possible Leidner could play.
Facing a struggling Rutgers team, Leidner completed eight of 10 first-half passes for 139 yards and rushed three times for 17 yards with a touchdown.
The Gophers outgained Rutgers 170-73 in the first quarter. Leidner went 3-for-3 for 46 yards on the first drive, which ended with a 1-yard touchdown run from Shannon Brooks.
Rodney Smith made it 14-3 when he pushed a pile 6 yards for a touchdown run.
Rutgers quarterback Gio Rescigno fumbled, giving the Gophers the ball at the Rutgers 18-yard line. Leidner took advantage, rushing 2 yards for a touchdown.
Rutgers outscored the Gophers 7-0 in the second quarter. It could have been worse but Damarius Travis intercepted Rescigno in the end zone with 10 seconds remaining in the half.