Minnesota dominates Michigan State 34-7 in Big Ten opener

Sep 24, 2022, 4:06 AM | Updated: 5:49 pm
Minnesota's Daniel Jackson, right, catches a pass for a touchdown against Michigan State's Charles ...

Minnesota's Daniel Jackson, right, catches a pass for a touchdown against Michigan State's Charles Brantley during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

(AP Photo/Al Goldis)

              Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan dives for a first down against Michigan State during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
            
              Minnesota's Mohamed Ibrahim, left, is tackled by Michigan State's Angelo Grose during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
            
              Michigan State quarterback Payton Thorne (10) is sacked by Minnesota's Ryan Stapp (22) during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
            
              Michigan State quarterback Payton Thorne throws a pass against Minnesota during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
            
              Minnesota players celebrate with Daniel Jackson, center, after his touchdown against Michigan State during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
            
              Minnesota's Daniel Jackson, right, catches a pass for a touchdown against Michigan State's Charles Brantley during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Tanner Morgan threw for 268 yards and three touchdowns and Mohamed Ibrahim rushed for 103 yards and a score to lead Minnesota to a 34-7 rout over struggling Michigan State in the Big Ten opener for both schools.

The Gophers (4-0) are off to their best start since they began the 2019 season 9-0. Minnesota dominated Michigan State (2-2) on both sides of the ball, outgaining the Spartans on offense 508-240 while also grabbing two interceptions and a fumble.

“I’ve got to take my hat off to our players,” said Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck. “They just played incredibly hard. I couldn’t be more proud of them right now in this moment.”

Despite missing star receiver Chris Autman-Bell, who is out for the season following a leg injury last week, the Gophers’ offense was dominant. Minnesota did not punt, converted 10 of 12 third-down attempts, had possession of the ball for 42:30 and Morgan hit 10 different receivers.

“I’ve been saying it for a long time now that we have a lot of guys that can go make plays for us,” Morgan said. “We saw that today — a lot of guys that were involved in the game plan and made plays. It makes my job really easy.”

Michigan State appeared ready to rally from a 17-point deficit at the start of the second half by driving to the Minnesota 5-yard line but Thomas Rush punched the ball free from quarterback Payton Thorne and Justin Walley made the recovery.

“Every week we emphasize turnovers,” Walley said. “Today we had three. That’s the amount we should get every week or strive to get every week.”

The Spartans avoided the shutout when backup quarterback Noah Kim tossed a 27-yard touchdown pass to Germie Bernard with 17 seconds left.

The Gophers scored on their first three possessions to go up 17-0.

Ibrahim, who extended his streak of 100-plus rushing yards to 13 games, broke Minnesota’s all-time rushing touchdown record with a 2-yard run off the opening drive. It was his 41st rushing score, breaking a tie with former Gophers running back Darrell Thompson.

Morgan, who completed 23 of 26 passes for 268 yards, capped off the next drive when he hit Daniel Jackson with a 23-yard touchdown pass. Matthew Trickett followed with a 26-yard field goal.

Morgan added a 6-yard touchdown pass to tight end Nick Kallerup in the third quarter and a 4-yard scoring pass to Jackson early in the fourth quarter. Trickett closed the Gophers’ scoring with a 22-yard field goal.

“We were operating fantastic today,” Morgan said. “We were executing. We were stopping ourselves a lot, though.”

It was the second straight game that Michigan State has been dominated. Last week against Washington the Spartans gave up 503 yards of offense.

“I’m really not happy with what I’m seeing,” said Michigan State coach Mel Tucker. “I don’t accept it.”

Tucker said he understands what the issues are with his team.

“I’m probably not gonna talk about them right now,” he said. “I don’t want to say anything I shouldn’t say right after a game like this.”

THE TAKEAWAY

Minnesota: The Gophers showed why they are considered the frontrunners to win the West Division. Facing their toughest opponent so far, Minnesota dominated in all phases of the game.

Michigan State: The Spartans’ pass defense for the second straight game struggled in coverage. Morgan completed 12 passes in the first half of 10 yards or more.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Gophers will likely be ranked after being among the unranked teams with the most votes in the AP Top 25.

UP NEXT

Minnesota: Hosts Purdue on Oct. 1 in a key Big Ten West game and then has a bye week.

Michigan State: Goes on the road Oct. 1 to play Maryland and follows with a brutal three-game stretch that includes Ohio State, Wisconsin and Michigan.

___

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/ap_top25. Sign up for the AP’s college football newsletter: https://tinyurl.com/mrxhe6f2

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Phillies select active duty Navy aviator in MLB Rule 5 draft

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Philadelphia Phillies took U.S. Navy aviator Noah Song in the Rule 5 draft Wednesday, hoping the former top pitching prospect can still be effective once he completes his military service. There is no definitive date on when the 25-year-old Song might be able to join the Phillies. Song was picked […]
18 hours ago
FILE - Then-Buffalo Bills punter Matt Araiza walks on the sideline during the first half of a prese...
Associated Press

Ex-Bills punter Araiza won’t be charged in alleged gang rape

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Former Buffalo Bills punter Matt Araiza will not be charged in connection with an alleged gang rape of a 17-year-old girl at an off-campus party last year when he played football for San Diego State University, prosecutors said Wednesday. The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office said no charges will be […]
18 hours ago
Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) takes off in the first half of an NFL football gam...
Associated Press

McVay: Baker Mayfield likely to be active for Rams vs Vegas

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Coach Sean McVay says Baker Mayfield probably will be active for the Los Angeles Rams’ game against the Raiders on Thursday night, just two days after the Rams claimed the former No. 1 draft pick off waivers from Carolina. McVay wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Mayfield playing against Las Vegas, […]
18 hours ago
University of Virginia Athletic Director Carla Williams, left, and football coach Tony Elliott wipe...
Associated Press

Virginia football players granted extra year of eligibility

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — The NCAA has granted an extra year of eligibility to Virginia football players whose eligibility has expired in the aftermath of the slaying of three members of the team, the school confirmed Wednesday. Lavel Davis Jr., D’Sean Perry and Devin Chandler were killed last month as they returned to campus from […]
18 hours ago
Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal meets the media to announce the Netherlands World Cup 2022 squad, ...
Associated Press

Van Gaal’s World Cup with Dutch has hugs, kisses and dancing

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Three wins from the title that has eluded the Netherlands, Louis van Gaal has filled his World Cup with hugs, kisses and dancing. Leading his nation for the third time at age 71, he is the tournament’s oldest coach. He also may be the most dapper, pacing the sideline in a […]
2 days ago
Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh smiles after defeating Purdue in the Big Ten championship NCAA col...
Associated Press

Study: Racial gap in grad rates drops again for bowl teams

The racial gap in graduation rates for this year’s bowl teams in college football has declined again, this time to the smallest difference in the history of a study examining the data. The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at Central Florida reported Wednesday that the overall Graduation Success Rate (GSR) for bowl-bound […]
2 days ago
Minnesota dominates Michigan State 34-7 in Big Ten opener