DETROIT – Gophers starting linebacker Kamal Martin did not make the trip to the Quick Lane Bowl and was suspended for the game because of a violation of team rules, coach P.J. Fleck said following the 34-10 victory over Georgia Tech on Wednesday.
“If you don’t do the right things, you’re not going to travel, you’re not going to play,” said Fleck, who did not disclose the reason for the suspension. “I said that from Day 1, since the day I walked in here. It doesn’t matter who you are.”
Martin, a junior from Burnsville, was a mainstay in the starting lineup and was the team’s fourth-leading tackler during the regular season with 59.
Last week, Fleck said “a starter or starters” could miss the game because of a violation of team rules.
Milestones for Johnson, Ibrahim
Gophers wide receiver Tyler Johnson caught four passes for 57 yards and two touchdowns, and in the process he set a pair of single-season team records.
His 18-yard TD reception in the second quarter moved him past the single-season yardage record set by Ron Johnson, who had 1,125 in 2000. Tyler Johnson finished the season with 78 catches for 1,169 yards.
And the junior from Minneapolis North wasn’t done breaking records. In the fourth quarter, Johnson caught a 30-yard TD pass, giving him 12 TD grabs for the season to break the record set by Omar Douglas in 1993 and tied by Ron Johnson in 2000.
The one record he didn’t get: the 84 catches by Eric Decker in 2008.
“It’s really a blessing,” Johnson said. “The hard work and dedication paid off.”
Redshirt freshman running back Mohamed Ibrahim rushed 31 times for 224 yards and surpassed the 1,000-yard mark in the first half. Ibrahim finished the season with 1,160 yards on 202 carries in 10 games and moved into second place on the school’s freshman list, ahead of Laurence Maroney’s 1,121 yards in 2003.
“That’s big,” Ibrahim said of Maroney. “He’s a superstar.”
Darrell Thompson leads Gophers freshmen with 1,376 yards in 1986.
Defensive linemen out
The Gophers were missing two defensive tackles, starter O.J. Smith and key backup Jamaal Teague, because of undisclosed injuries. Both were on the sideline in a jerseys and track pants, along with other injured players.
Gary Moore, Royal Silver, Boye Mafe and Winston DeLattiboudere III started on the line, while Nate Umlor and Noah Hickcox saw action. Moore limped off the field late in the third quarter.
Offensive line moves
The offensive line also had a change. With senior left tackle Donnell Greene opting out of the bowl to undergo knee surgery and prepare for the NFL draft, redshirt freshman Blaise Andries moved from right guard to left tackle to start. True freshman Curtis Dunlap Jr. started at right guard, next to his IMG Academy teammate Daniel Faalele, the right tackle. The Gophers also had Andries move back to right guard and Sam Schlueter play left tackle at times.
“Our plan was to give Curtis Dunlap his first start, and I thought he played really well,” Fleck said. “They finished their blocks tonight.”
• Announced attendance was 27,228, the second most in the five years of the Quick Lane Bowl.
• The Gophers improved to 8-12 in bowl games and are 2-0 in the Quick Lane Bowl.