Gophers replay Gophers 28, S.D. State 21
The Gophers didn't quite have the splashy start to the season fans expected Thursday. Instead, it was a survive-and-advance situation, with the Jackrabbits taking a one-point lead into the fourth quarter. South Dakota State looked intent to build on that, but first-time quarterback J'Bore Gibbs fumbled a handoff, gifting the Gophers a scoring drive and eventually the game.
"It means a lot for us to respond the way we did," said Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan, who completed 13 of 18 passes for 176 yards and a touchdown.
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Carter Coughlin's injury: The senior rush end dealt with an unspecified injury described as "tightness" early in training camp and had some injury issues late in the game, missing some series. Gophers coach P.J. Fleck said he didn't have an update. "It must not have been too bad if he went back into the game, but we'll see," Fleck said.
The Philly special: There's a banner hanging in the Gophers' indoor practice facility boasting how the Super Bowl LII champion Philadelphia Eagles practiced there. And Fleck stole a trick play from their book, when running back Rodney Smith took the snap and pitched it to receiver Tyler Johnson, who used his high school quarterback skills to pass to Morgan for a two-point conversion.
Up next at Fresno State
9:30 p.m. Saturday (CBSSN,)
The skinny: Fresno State gave the Gophers a real scare a year ago. And after barely escaping South Dakota State, traveling to the West Coast for a late-night start seems even more threatening.
Actually, there are parallels between Thursday's South Dakota State game and last year's game with Fresno State. In each case, the opponent took a slim late-game lead before the Gophers put things away.
Fresno State is again a favorite in the Mountain West Conference and kicks off its season Saturday at USC. But it has some new players. Quarterback Jorge Reyna was the backup last year, making only 12 throws. The Bulldogs also replaced their top two receivers from last year's 12-2 team and lost one of their top running backs, Jordan Mims, for the season because of an ankle injury.