Texas Christian 23, Gophers 17
The recap: Mitch Leidner fumbled at his 15-yard line, leading to TCU’s first touchdown, and Rodrick Williams fumbled at TCU’s 1-yard line, erasing that Gophers scoring chance. Trevone Boykin helped the Horned Frogs open a 23-10 lead. Leidner hit KJ Maye with a 22-yard touchdown pass with 1:30 remaining, but the Gophers couldn’t recover the onside kick.
What was learned: Leidner and the offense have plenty of questions, but the Gophers defense could be elite. TCU returned 10 offensive starters from a team that ranked second in the nation in scoring last season (46.8 points per game). The Gophers held the Horned Frogs to less than half that total, and one of the touchdowns came on a 15-yard drive.
YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:
• Four true freshmen made their debuts for the Gophers — linebacker Julian Huff, receiver Rashad Still, cornerback KiAnte Hardin and linebacker Blake Cashman. “There’ll be more to come,” Kill said. Hardin and Cashman both made impressive tackles on special teams. Hardin was a highly touted recruit from Webb City, Mo. Cashman is a walk-on from Eden Prairie.
• Replays showed that Gophers safety Ace Rogers stripped the ball from receiver Desmon White in the first quarter. “I think everyone wants to know why I didn’t challenge it,” coach Jerry Kill said. “Well, I couldn’t challenge it because it’s not reviewable.” That’s because the officials ruled that White’s forward progress had stopped before the ball came out.
• Gophers cornerback Eric Murray and TCU wide receiver Josh Doctson both project as high-round draft picks. During the heat of battle Thursday, they shook hands. “You talk about sportsmanship,” Kill said. “How much better do you get than two guys who are great college football players, before the ball’s snapped, shake each other’s hands, and then go after each other?”
UP NEXT: Colorado State
2:30 p.m., Sept. 12, Hughes Stadium
TV: CBS Sports Network; Radio: 100.3-FM
Records: Gophers 0-1, Colorado State 0-0
The skinny: Colorado State opens the season against Savannah State on Saturday, and it’ll be interesting to see how different the Rams look. They went 10-3 last year – including 6-0 at home — but coach Jim McElwain left for Florida, getting replaced with Georgia’s former offensive coordinator, Mike Bobo. The Rams tabbed third-year sophomore Nick Stevens to replace record-setting quarterback Garrett Grayson, a third-round pick by the New Orleans Saints. The Gophers love to run the ball, and Colorado State ranked 102nd in the nation against the run last season.