It's year number two for the Minnesota Golden Gophers under the P.J. Fleck regime and they're doing what they're supposed to.
The Gophers entered the night 18-point favorites over the Aggies but that hasn't always played out to fruition for this young Gophers squad. Tonight though, tonight was a different story.
With preferred walk-on freshman Zach Annexstad under center, the Gophers got off to a slow start as their worked out some of the kinks and growing pains of having such a young group. That led Minnesota to a 7-10 deficit at the end of the first quarter. Then Annexstad got settled. Then Smith got rolling. Then the defense took over. And then the special teams provided the boost that the team needed.
Heading into the second quarter down by 3-points, the Gophers rattled off 28 straight points to rally before halftime.
The scoring opened up with a wildcat formation rush from wide receiver Seth Green, rolled into Green's second rushing touchdown of the day about eight minutes later, was sparked by an amazing 75-yard punt return from Antoine Winfield Jr. and was capped off before half with a pretty 33-yard run after the catch Annexstad to wide receiver Tyler Johnson.
Firmly in control of the game by the time the second half kicked off, the Gophers knocked through two field goals and added one more rushing touchdown from Bryce Williams in the fourth quarter.
At the end of the day, the Gophers did what they were supposed to and then some more against their home opener opponent.
More importantly, having watched most of the game last night, it was actually an entertaining style of play. Something that we haven't exactly seen here in Minnesota as of late. Fleck proved that he trusts Annexstad stretching the field, that he's got options on the outside with Johnson and Bateman and that they have a bull in the backfield with Rodney Smith. It could be a fun yet, but it for sure should be a fun future for this team.
RB Rodney Smith ended with 24 carries and 153 yards, mostly in the first half.
QB Zach Annexstad finished the day 16-for-33 for 220 yards and 2 TDs
WR Tyler Johnson ended with 5 catches, 100 yards and 1 TD