Rodney Smith, Gophers
The senior running back made his final season opener a memorable one, by rushing 24 times for 153 yards. He had 189 all-purpose yards, giving him 4,039 for his career.
Antoine Winfield Jr., Gophers
The sophomore safety, back from a hamstring injury that cost him the final eight games of the 2017 season, returned a second-quarter punt 76 yards for a touchdown that boosted Minnesota’s lead to 28-10. He also made five tackles.
BY THE NUMBERS
36 Punt return yards for the Gophers in 2017. Winfield more than doubled that on his 76-yarder Thursday.
220 Passing yards for Gophers quarterback Zack Annexstad, the most by a Minnesota freshman in a season opener since redshirt freshman Allen Holt had 275 against Michigan State in 1985.