Gophers have perfect response in victory over San Jose State

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 22, 2013 - 3:28 PM

A week after all the attention was on their ailing coach, the Gophers improved to 4-0 with a superb second half.

Gophers football coach Jerry Kill pumped his fist in appreciation Saturday, as the student section serenaded him with chants of “Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!”

One week after suffering a seizure at halftime against Western Illinois, Kill got treated to the best half of football his team has played all season.

The defense came up with an answer for prolific San Jose State quarterback David Fales, and the offense kept churning up rushing yards and chewing up the clock in a 43-24 Gophers victory over the Spartans at TCF Bank Stadium.

In his first career start, Mitch Leidner carried the ball 24 times for 151 yards and four touchdowns — the most rushing touchdowns for a Gophers quarterback since Curtis Wilson had four against Indiana in 1967.

An announced crowd of 45,647 watched the Gophers pass their toughest test of the nonconference schedule, improving to 4-0 heading into next weekend’s Big Ten opener vs. Iowa.

“The good thing about today is it’ll be easy for you [sportswriters],” Kill said, referencing the bulletins over last week’s seizure. “You’ve got something good to write about.”

The Gophers were 4-0 last season when they went to Iowa and got humbled in a 31-13 defeat. But the season’s first four weeks — including lopsided victories over UNLV, New Mexico State and Western Illinois — have given the Gophers hope that this year will be different.

“It’s a new year,” senior linebacker Aaron Hill said. “Our big thing is just laying one brick at a time, and every game is a new brick, every practice is a new brick. We’re just trying to build that foundation that Coach Kill is trying to build here.”

With Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman among the NFL officials in attendance, Fales showed why he is viewed as a potential first-round draft pick. He passed for 294 yards and two touchdowns — just in the first half.

The Gophers led 20-17 at halftime and knew they needed an answer for Fales.

“We had to get him out of a rhythm,” Kill said. “I don’t think you ever know how good a kid is until you play him. Believe me, we’ve seen some good quarterbacks over my 30 years. I’ve coached against [Joe] Flacco and all the guys in the Big Ten, and this kid can play.”

On San Jose State’s first possession of the second half, Gophers cornerback Jeremy Baltazar tipped a pass from Fales, and Hill corralled it for an interception, returning it to the Spartans 12-yard line.

Leidner turned that into one of his three 1-yard touchdown sneaks.

San Jose State’s first three second-half possessions went: interception, three-and-out, three-and-out. The Gophers got a 22-yard field goal from Chris Hawthorne and another 1-yard touchdown sneak from Leidner to take a 36-17 lead early in the fourth quarter.

By game’s end, Fales had completed 22 of 35 passes for 439 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.

The 6-4, 230-pound Leidner had a much different game subbing for Philip Nelson, who was out because of a right hamstring injury. Leidner completed only five of 12 passes for 71 yards.

Through four games, the Gophers have completed a total of only 33 passes, yet they have won all of those games by at least 17 points.

  • related content

  • Photo gallery: Gophers 43, San Jose State 24

    Saturday September 21, 2013

    College football from TCF Stadium, Saturday, Sept 21.

  • Souhan: Run-first Leidner starting to look like ... Tundra Tebow?

    Sunday September 22, 2013

    Mitch Leidner probably isn’t quite ready for a glorifying nickname after one nonconference victory, 43-24 on Saturday over San Jose State, but he borrowed liberally from Tebow’s resume.

  • Hartman: 4-0 start brings optimism to Gophers

    Sunday September 22, 2013

    Saturday’s 43-24 victory over San Jose State will help to put the Gophers on the map and give them exposure they have not had for years.

  • Linebackers changed the flow against San Jose State

    Sunday September 22, 2013

    Adjustments by coaches and strong play by Aaron Hill and De’Vondre Campbell made the second half different.

  • Chart: Mitch Leidner's day

    Saturday September 21, 2013

    Mitch Leidner’s day• The redshirt freshman from Lake-ville South High School made his first college start in place of the...

  • Chart: Gophers' passing game still waits

    Saturday September 21, 2013

    Passing Game WAITSThe Gophers have completed just 33 passes through four games this season, by far the fewest in the...

  • Gophers notes: Cobb is latest to have a strong run game

    Sunday September 22, 2013

    When it comes to distributing carries to their tailbacks, Gophers coaches often talk about playing the hot hand. And it seems to change every week.

  • Gophers quarterback Mitch Leidner, filling in for injured Philip Nelson, dragged San Jose State tacklers with him Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium.

  • K J Maye hauled in a 40-yard reception, beating San Jose State cornerback Bene Benwikere.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - LP: J. Peavy 2 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: K. Herrera 7
San Diego 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Houston 90 FINAL
Orlando 89
Brooklyn 86 FINAL
Boston 100
Washington 100 FINAL
New York 103
Cleveland 92 FINAL
Memphis 96
Minnesota 110 FINAL
Milwaukee 91
Atlanta 117 FINAL
San Antonio 107
Portland 86 FINAL
LA Lakers 94
Phoenix 105 FINAL
LA Clippers 108
Toronto 0 Postponed
Ottawa 0
Philadelphia 5 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
Washington 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Buffalo 1 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Arkansas State 40 FINAL
Louisiana 55
Connecticut 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Chivas USA 0 FINAL
Real Salt Lake 2
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close