Outgained and outplayed, the Minnesota Gophers fell in their first conference game in a lopsided 42-13 loss to the Maryland Terrapins.
Through the first three weeks, the Gophers limited the big play defensively. Against the Terrapins, they couldn’t stop the big play. Maryland scored five touchdowns on offense, all of which were from at least 20 yards out.
What’s more troubling for the Gophers, the defense allowed 315 rushing yards after not having allowed more than 91 yards in the previous three weeks. Ty Johnson and Anthony McFarland ran for 123 yards and 112 respectively. McFarland led Maryland with two touchdowns. His first came in the first quarter on a 26-yard dash. McFarland’s second touchdown of the day came on a 64-yard run in the third quarter. Johnson had a touchdown of his own in the first quarter, an 81-yard run.
Maryland’s other two offensive scores came via 54-yard pass from Kasim Hill to DJ Turner and a 21-yard rush from Chigozlem Okonkwo.
The Gophers weren’t any better on offense. Minnesota could only muster one touchdown, a 17-yard fade from Zack Annexstad to Rashad Bateman, in the closing minute of the second quarter. Annexstad, in particular, was not effective. Whether it was his nagging ankle injury from the prior week or the unavoidable pass rush of Maryland’s Antoine Brooks Jr. and Tony Watson, Annexstad had his first poor performance of the season.
Annexstad has shown previous this season that he is an accurate passer, particularly on out routes and slants to the middle of the field in the 10- to 15-yard range. In this game, his passes on those and other similar routes were often overthrown.
Annexstad also hadn’t thrown an interception in the previous three games. Against Maryland, he threw two. His first interception was tipped at the line of scrimmage, and caught by Watson who returned it for a touchdown. The second was thrown into double coverage in the corner of the end zone.
- The Gophers offense was helped out by the penalties assessed to the Maryland defense. At the end of the first half, the Gophers had 99 yards of offense to the Terrapins’ 73 yards of defensive penalties. By game’s end, Maryland committed 93 yards worth of defensive penalties. As evident by the score, the Gophers never capitalized on the extra yards with touchdowns.
- Mohamed Ibrahim returned to action after leaving the first game of the season with an injury. Ibrahim did all he could do as the primary back. He ran 28 times for 95 yards. With Rodney Smith out for the season and Shannon Brooks out as well, Ibrahim and fellow freshman running back Bryce Williams have shown they can handle a heavy workload.
- Carter Coughlin recorded the Gophers’ only sack. He leads the team this season with four sacks and now has three sacks in the last two games.
- The Gophers return to TCF Bank Stadium next week to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 or 3 p.m.