Ibrahim powers Minnesota past short-handed Illini 41-14
Mohamed Ibrahim rushed for 224 yards and four touchdowns and Minnesota’s defense held short-handed Illinois in check Saturday in its first win, a 41-14 Big 10 Conference mismatch at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill.
Tanner Morgan threw for another 231 yards and a score for the Golden Gophers (1-2), tying his career high and making him just the second back in program history with consecutive 200-yard games. Rashod Bateman was Morgan’s main target, catching a career-high 10 passes for 154 yards and a score.
But Minnesota’s defense made the difference. After allowing 94 points in season-opening losses to Michigan and Maryland, the Gophers limited the Fighting Illini to 287 yards and 14 first downs, recording four sacks and forcing two turnovers.
Illinois (0-3) got 108 yards and a touchdown from Mike Epstein in 11 carries, but little else went right for Illinois. Quarterback Coran Taylor, making his first career start because three quarterbacks ahead of him on the depth chart were out with injuries or COVID-19, completed only 6 of 17 passes for 106 yards.
Minnesota established a 21-0 second-quarter lead. Treyson Potts’ 9-yard touchdown run initiated scoring with 3:29 left in the first quarter. That was followed by Morgan’s 5-yard scoring strike to Bateman on a fade pattern, and a 1-yard touchdown run by Ibrahim.
After Epstein got the Illini on the board with a 1-yard run with 5:32 remaining in the first half, the Gophers restored a three-touchdown lead. Ibrahim capped a drive of more than five minutes on a 2-yard run with 24 seconds on the clock, putting Minnesota ahead 28-7 at halftime.
Ibrahim added another 1-yard touchdown plunge with 21 seconds left in the third quarter for a 35-7 advantage. After Taylor found Josh Imatorbhebhe for a 52-yard scoring strike early in the third quarter, Ibrahim cleared 200 yards with a 53-yard run to the 5.
Three plays later, Ibrahim found the end zone from the 4 to cap the day’s scoring, giving him four touchdowns for the second week in a row.
–Field Level Media