ORLANDO -- Missouri leads the Gophers 10-7 at halftime of the Citrus bowl. A few takeaways:
* First of all – the fans. From his view on the field, Star Tribune photographer Jerry Holt estimates that there are at least 15,000 Gophers fans here. Minnesota’s contingent is much bigger and louder than Missouri’s.
* It was 72 degrees at kickoff. Mostly cloudy.
* The yardage is even 184-184, but it was a tail of two quarters. The Gophers outgained Missouri 143-28 in the first quarter, and Missouri outgained Minnesota 156-41 in the second.
* Mitch Leidner has completed 11 of 12 passes for 96 yards.
* Maty Mauk threw interceptions to end Missouri’s first two drives. Derrick Wells tracked down Mauk’s errant heave to end the first drive. Then, when Mauk took a shot to the end zone for Darius White, and Briean Boddy-Calhoun pulled it right out of White’s hands. It was much like Boddy-Calhoun’s strip of De’Mornay Pierson-El to seal the win at Nebraska.
* Leidner fumbled on Minnesota’s first possession when he got swarmed by Missouri’s standout defensive ends Shane Ray and Markus Golden. But the Gophers went 11 plays and 80 yards for a touchdown on their second drive. Rodrick Williams capped it with a 20-yard TD run.
* Ray has been limping. Potential Top 5 NFL pick does not appear to be at full strength.
* Missouri went 3-and-out on its third drive and almost did again on its fourth drive. But Gary Pinkel gambled with a fake punt from the Mizzou 17-yard line, and it worked as Harold Brantley (a nose guard) rumbled for 18 yards. Missouri punted for real later in the drive, pinning the Gophers at their own 2-yard line.
* That field position helped Missouri get its first points on an Andrew Baggett 22-yard field goal with 6:39 left in the second quarter.
Boddy-Calhoun got turned around, covering Bud Sasser, when Mauk found Sasser for a 25-yard touchdown.
* The Gophers got the ball back with 1:04 left in the second quarter, but were very conservative. Coach Jerry Kill told sideline reporter Justin Gaard that he wanted to be careful not to turn over the ball, knowing the Gophers get the ball to start the third quarter.