Gophers 30, Colorado 0
The recap: On the very first play from scrimmage, Colorado quarterback Brendon Lewis couldn't handle a high shotgun snap and had to fall on the ball for a 10-yard loss. That set the tone for the entire day at Folsom Field, as the Gophers overwhelmed the Buffaloes with a defensive effort that produced its first road shutout of a Power Five opponent since 1977. The Gophers outgained the Buffaloes 441-63.
Minnesota registered its first four sacks of the season – two each by Boye Mafe and Thomas Rush – and had four other tackles for loss. That added up to minus-19 rushing yards for the Buffaloes. The Gophers also were stingy in the secondary, holding Lewis to 55 passing yards.
The Gophers rushed for 277 yards, led by Trey Potts' 26 carries for 121 yards and three touchdowns. Freshmen Mar'Keise "Bucky'' Irvin (15 carries, 89 yards) and Ky Thomas (seven carries, 66 yards, one TD) showed promise in their first extensive action.
The price of pancakes
It's becoming a weekly occurrence, but Gophers tight end Ko Kieft turned heads with his blocking, registering a highlight reel pancake block on Potts' 13-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Kieft engaged linebacker Quinn Perry at the line of scrimmage, drove him to the 7 and deposited him on his backside as Potts flew by.
Kieft, a senior, also caught his first pass of the season, a 4-yard grab that produced a first down.
After the game, Kieft tweeted a photo of himself with a crooked nose and blood running down his beard.
In posting the shutout, the Gophers allowed only six first downs by the Buffaloes, who didn't move the chains for the first time until nearly four minutes had expired in the second quarter. That fed in Minnesota's huge advantage in time of possession, 40:13 to 19:47, including 22:15 to 7:45 in the second half.
The Gophers ended up forcing five three-and-outs by Colorado and got two turnovers. Four times the Buffaloes got a first down but couldn't follow it up with another. Only once did they string together two first downs, and that came in the game's final 5:09 with the Gophers leading 30-0.
The victory gave the Gophers their 21st consecutive nonconference victory, the past 13 under coach P.J. Fleck and the previous eight under the Jerry Kill/Tracy Claeys regime. It also was Minnesota's seventh consecutive win over a Power Five nonconference foe, a streak that began in 2015.
Saturday's game also was the 100th of Fleck's head-coaching career, and he has a 58-42 record. He's 28-20 at Minnesota and was 30-22 at Western Michigan.
Up next: Bowling Green
11 a.m. Saturday, Huntington Bank Stadium, TV: ESPNU (100.3-FM)
The skinny: The Falcons earned their first victory of the season Saturday, defeating FCS-level Murray State 27-10 with 17 second-half points after the score was tied 10-10 at halftime. Bowling Green opened the season with a 38-6 loss at Tennessee, then fell 22-19 to South Alabama on a last-second field goal.
Senior quarterback Matt McDonald carries the burden on offense for the Falcons, passing for 238.7 yards per game and completing 71.4% of his throws. Bowling Green's running game ranks 129th of 130 FBS teams at 53 yards per game. Freshman Nick Mosley is the Falcons' top rusher, but with only 74 yards on the season.
Bowling Green was picked to finish last in the Mid-American Conference's East Division in the preseason media poll. The Falcons are 13-43 over the past six seasons.