Gophers 34, Maryland 16
The recap: Behind freshman running backs Ky Thomas and Mar'Keise "Bucky'' Irving, who each rushed for more than 100 yards, the Gophers raced past Maryland by using a run game that amassed 326 yards on Saturday. Thomas carried 21 times for 139 yards and a touchdown, and Irving ran 15 times for 105 yards and a score as the Gophers (5-2, 3-1 Big Ten) beat the Terrapins (4-3, 1-3) to move into a first-place tie with Iowa atop the Big Ten West standings.
Minnesota led 17-10 at halftime, then turned the game over to its offensive line, which paved the way for touchdown drives of 75 and 34 yards, plus a field-goal march that drained 8:42 from the clock spanning the third and fourth quarters.
"We didn't throw it as much as we probably thought we would, but we didn't need to," said Gophers coach P.J. Fleck, whose team passed only 12 times overall and only four times in the second half.
Turnovers and fourth-down stops
A week after making a goal-line stand, getting another fourth-down stop and securing a safety against Nebraska, the Gophers defense got a takeaway and a turnover on downs against Maryland. Defensive tackle Nyles Pinckney forced a first-quarter fumble by quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa that cornerback Coney Durr recovered, and Tagovailoa's fourth-and-1 pass early in the third quarter fell incomplete. "Stops like those are very big, especially in a game like this," Pinckney said. "… Defensively, we'll take that and add it to the stat book as a turnover."
Kicking a mixed bag
Gophers kicker Matthew Trickett went 2-for-4 on field-goal attempts, with successful kicks from 37 and 43 yards, a miss from 50 and a 38-yarder that was blocked at the end of the first half. "We've got to make those two," Fleck said. "We know that. I've got to coach it up better and find a way for him to be able to do it."
Linemen chasing records
Gophers guard Conner Olson started his school-record 52nd consecutive game Saturday, but he wasn't the only offensive lineman reaching a milestone. Both sixth-year senior Sam Schlueter and fifth-year senior Blaise Andries reached 40 consecutive starts, and Andries has a year of eligibility remaining should he opt to use it. "Conner Olson now owns that record," Fleck said. "If Blaise comes back, he'll challenge him for that. Maybe that's something he wants to do, maybe not."
Up next: Northwestern
2:30 p.m. Saturday, Ryan Field, BTN, 100.3-FM
The skinny: Northwestern hung with No. 6 Michigan for a half, trailing 10-7 before the Wolverines rolled to a 33-7 victory with 23 second-half points. Running back Evan Hull, a sophomore from Maple Grove, had a 75-yard touchdown run for the Wildcats (3-4, 1-3 Big Ten) and leads the team with 643 yards and five touchdowns on 101 carries. Quarterback Ryan Hilinski, a transfer from South Carolina, has started the past four games, averaging 181.3 passing yards. The Wildcats defense ranks last in the Big Ten, giving up 417.9 yards per game and 218.7 of that on the ground. Michigan ran for 294 yards against Northwestern.
"We played pretty solid in the first half to give ourselves a chance," Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald said. "And then we reverted back to some bad habits."