DETROIT -- The Gophers went to halftime of the Quick Lane Bowl, leading Central Michigan 10-7 at Ford Field.
The game drew a sparse crowd, even less than expected with organizers closing the upper deck. The Gophers sold 1,400 tickets, but Central Michigan’s turnout was probably hurt with the ice storm causing traffic delays on Detroit roads.
Minnesota took the opening kickoff and drove right down the field, starting with a 37-yard rush by Rodney Smith. But the drive stalled inside the 10-yard line, when the Gophers went conservative, trying to running play on third-and-6. Shannon Brooks gained just two yards, and the Gophers settled for a 22-yard field goal from Ryan Santoso.
The Gophers nearly added a touchdown on their second drive, as junior receiver Drew Wolitarsky got a step on a defender and streaked down the field. Mitch Leidner’s pass hit him in stride, but the pass went through Wolitarsky’s fingertips.
Central Michigan rattled off a 15-play, 82-yard touchdown drive, capped with a 1-yard sneak from Cooper Rush.
But the Gophers answered with a 75-yard touchdown drive. Shannon Brooks had runs of 19 and 30 yards, and then Leidner hit KJ Maye with an 11-yard scoring pass. Maye made the leaping catch between two defenders, grabbing it with his fingertips and bringing it down.