He has answered the bell for every Gophers football game since Aug. 31, 2017, and on Saturday guard Conner Olson reached a milestone in a fitting way — by being part of an offensive line that took over a game.
Olson, a sixth-year senior from Monticello, started his 52nd consecutive game in the Gophers' 34-16 victory over Maryland at Huntington Bank Stadium, breaking the school record set by long snapper Payton Jordahl from 2015 to '18. Entering Saturday, Olson's streak was the fifth-longest active starting streak in the country.
"It just another game. We've got a handful more,'' Olson said, downplaying his accomplishment. "It's cool to get that record, and I hope I break that record again next week. I'm not going to get too focused on that just yet. It's more so about the team than the individual record.''
The team, with the offensive line setting the tempo, won its third consecutive game and did so with a dominant rushing attack. The Gophers ran the ball 56 times for 326 yards, and in the second half they closed the game with 23 consecutive runs to drain the clock and end any thoughts of a comeback by the Terrapins.
"It's a credit to the entire unit to be able to go out there and finish the game in that fashion,'' Olson said. "Our running backs definitely instill a lot of confidence in the run game, and when you've got [tight end] Ko Kieft on the edge, you always feel pretty good out there. It was a good way to end the game. From and offensive lineman's standpoint, I always prefer to running it to passing it — no offense to Tanner.''
Tanner Morgan, the Gophers quarterback, wasn't offended at all by mainly handing off the ball after intermission.
"It was very dominant, being able to see those guys execute every single play,'' he said.
Saturday's game didn't start perfectly for Olson, who fell on the first play from scrimmage.
"I like to play like a kid, as they say, so sometimes that's on ground,'' Olson joked.
* With 125 yards passing, Morgan has 7,071 for his career and became the fourth Gophers QB to surpass 7,000 yards. Ahead of him are Adam Weber (10,917), Bryan Cupito (7,446) and Mitch Leidner (7,287).
* Gophers receiver Chris Autman-Bell had four catches for 35 yards, giving him 100 receptions for his career.
* Five different running backs have rushed for 100 yards in a game for the Gophers this season. The last time that happened with the program was in 1985.
* Gophers cornerback Coney Durr suffered an upper-body injury in the first quarter but later returned to the game. He finished with three tackles, one of his team's two sacks and a fumble recovery.
* Gophers defensive end Esezi Otomewo left the game after making a third-down tackle in the third quarter.
* Gophers receiver Daniel Jackson, whose 14 receptions rank second on the team, did not play for the second consecutive game because of an undisclosed injury.
* The Gophers running back depth took a hit Monday when Cam Wiley announced he was entering his name into the transfer portal. Special teams ace and linebacker Derik LeCaptain was working with both the running backs and linebackers in pregame warmups, so it appears he has offensive duties, too.
* Matt Anderle, who played defensive and offensive tackle for the Gophers from 1998 to 2001, gave the speech during Saturday morning's captains' breakfast.