Dec 29, 2022; Bronx, NY, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers running back Mohamed Ibrahim (24) runs for a touchdown against the Syracuse Orange during the second quarter of the 2022 Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota holds off Syracuse in Pinstripe Bowl 28-20

Mohamed Ibrahim became the all-time rushing leader in school history and scored a touchdown early in the second quarter before sitting out the second half Thursday as Minnesota beat Syracuse 28-20 in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.

Ibrahim capped his comeback season from missing virtually all of last season with a ruptured Achilles. After getting hurt in the 2021 season opener against Penn State, Ibrahim returned for a sixth season and finished his career with 4,668 yards and 53 rushing touchdowns.

Ibrahim broke the school record held by Darrell Thompson (1986-1989) on a 10-yard gain with about 2 1/2 minutes left in the first half.

Before breaking Thompson’s record, Ibrahim scored a 4-yard TD with 13:39 remaining in the first quarter, giving the Gophers a 7-0 lead. He finished with 71 yards on 16 carries before junior Trey Potts replaced him in the backfield.

Daniel Jackson hauled in a pair of TDs with a 20-yard reception in the second and a key 25-yard grab in the final minute of the third that expanded Minnesota’s lead to 28-13.

Coleman Bryson had a 70-yard interception return in the third quarter for the Gophers, who were ultimately outgained by Syracuse, 484-215.

Minnesota’s Athan Kaliakmanis completed 7 of 9 passes for 80 yards before the freshman sustained a leg injury in the second quarter. Senior Tanner Morgan made his first appearance since Nov. 5 and completed 4 of 7 for 58 yards as the Golden Gophers (9-4) won their sixth straight bowl game.

Syracuse’s offense struggled early without star running back Sean Tucker, who sat out after declaring for the NFL draft Dec. 17. The Orange lost six of their final seven games after getting off to a 6-0 start.

LeQuint Allen replaced Tucker and finished with 103 yards on 16 carries as the But Orange got untracked late in the first half.

Garret Shrader completed 32 of 51 passes for 329 yards for Syracuse and scored Syracuse’s two touchdowns on runs on runs of one and eight yards.

Ibrahim opened the scoring early in the second quarter and Jackson scored on a leaping catch in the right corner of the end zone for a 14-0 Minnesota lead before Shrader scored with eight seconds before halftime.

Andre Szmyt’s 40-yarsd field goal made it 14-10 about 4 1/2 minutes after halftime but Bryson’s pick six opened a 21-10 lead for the Gophers with 7:22 midway through the third quarter.

After another Szmyt field goal brought the Orange to within one score at 21-13, Quentin Redding returned the ensuing kickoff 72 yards setting up Jackson’s second TD reception from Morgan in the final seconds of the third quarter.

Shrader scrambled from eight yards out with 2 1/2 minutes remaining on a 4th-and-8, but Minnesota ran out the final 2:30 of the clock.

–Field Level Media

Nov 26, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin running back Chez Mellusi (1) runs for a first down during the first quarter of their game against Minnesota  at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Late TD carries Minnesota to victory over Wisconsin

Redshirt freshman Athan Kaliakmanis hit Le’Meke Brockington with a 45-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter as visiting Minnesota rallied for a 23-16 victory over Wisconsin on Saturday, retaining Paul Bunyan’s Axe in college football’s longest rivalry.

The Badgers had a final drive from their own 30 after Matthew Trickett hit the right upright on a 48-yard field goal attempt with 1:48 left. Chase Wolf replaced injured quarterback Graham Mertz midway through the drive. A pass interference call in the end zone gave Wisconsin a first-and-goal at the five, but the Badgers committed four penalties, moving them back to the 30.

Wolf’s pass on fourth-and-goal from the 25 with 5 seconds left was incomplete in the end zone.

Minnesota (8-4, 5-4 Big Ten) defeated Wisconsin two years in a row for the first time since 1994. The series is tied, 62-62-8.

The Badgers (6-6, 4-5 Big Ten) dropped to 4-3 under interim coach Jim Leonhard, promoted from defensive coordinator when Paul Chryst was fired the day after a 34-10 loss at home to Illinois.

Chimere Dike scored on a 9-yard reverse to put Wisconsin in front 16-13 late in the third quarter. Minnesota tied it 16-16 on Trickett’s 27-yard field with 7:58 remaining.

The Gophers forced a three-and-out to set up the winning 71-yard drive. Kaliakmanis, making his third consecutive start in place of injured Tanner Morgan, hit Brockington across the middle at the 33 and he outran the secondary.

Justin Walley picked off Mertz on Wisconsin’s next possession, but Trickett’s miss gave the Badgers one last shot.

Kaliakmanis completed 19 of 29 passes for 319 yards and two touchdowns. Mohamed Ibrahim, first in the nation with 152.4 yards per game, finished with 70 yards on 27 carries, ending his streak of 100-yard rushing games at 19.

Trickett connected on a 50-yard field goal that grazed the crossbar on the Gophers’ opening possession of the third quarter to make it 13-6. Nate Van Zelst responded with his third field goal, a 36-yarder, to cut the lead to 13-9.

Trickett’s 25-yard field goal on the final play of the first half put Minnesota up 10-6.

The Gophers answered an opening field goal with a 10-play, 81-yard drive capped by Kaliakmanis’ 6-yard touchdown pass to Daniel Jackson.

Wisconsin was without leading rusher Braelon Allen, out with a right leg injury. Chez Mellusi rushed 19 times for 75 yards. Mertz completed 16 of 27 passes for 170 yards.

-Field Level Media

Nov 19, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers running back Mohamed Ibrahim (24) runs for a touchdown against the Iowa Hawkeyes during the second quarter at Huntington Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Drew Stevens kicks late FG to lift Iowa over Minnesota

Drew Stevens hit a 21-yard field goal with 28 seconds remaining to give Iowa a 13-10 win over Minnesota in Big Ten play on Saturday at Minneapolis.

Spencer Petras went 15-of-24 passing for 221 yards for Iowa (7-4, 5-3), which has won four straight games.

Mohamed Ibrahim rushed for 263 yards and a touchdown on 39 carries for Minnesota (7-4, 4-4).

Minnesota had a chance to win late in regulation, but facing a third-and-7 from the Iowa 33-yard line, Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell picked off Minnesota quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis and returned it to the Minnesota 45-yard line with 2:06 remaining.

On the next play, Petras hit Luke Lachey for a 33-yard gain down to the Minnesota 12-yard line.

Iowa eventually worked it down to the 3-yard line, where on fourth-and-1, trotted out Stevens for the game-winning kick.

Minnesota was stopped on downs on its last possession to end the game.

Iowa opened the scoring with 9:01 remaining in the first quarter, taking a 3-0 lead on a 38-yard field goal by Stevens.

The Hawkeyes then took a 10-0 lead with 42 seconds remaining in the first quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run by Petras, which capped off a 12-play, 66-yard drive that lasted 6:19.

Minnesota answered in the second quarter, cutting Iowa’s lead to 10-7 with 10:24 remaining in the second on a 5-yard touchdown run by Ibrahim, which finished off a nine-play, 72-yard drive that took 5:13 off of the clock.

The Golden Gophers then tied the game at 10-10 with 8:20 remaining in the third quarter on a 27-yard field goal by Matthew Trickett.

Minnesota outgained Iowa, 399-280, and possessed the ball for 35:16. But the Golden Gophers had two turnovers, while the Hawkeyes had none.

Kaliakmanis completed 7 of 15 passes for 87 yards.

–Field Level Media

Nov 12, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA;Minnesota Golden Gophers linebacker Cody Lindenberg (45) tackles Northwestern Wildcats quarterback Brendan Sullivan (10) during the first quarter at Huntington Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota rushes for 302 yards, smothers Northwestern

Mohamed Ibrahim rushed for 178 yards and three touchdowns on 36 carries to lead Minnesota to a 31-3 home win over Northwestern in a Big Ten West contest on Saturday.

Minnesota (7-3, 4-3 Big Ten), which has won three straight, started backup quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis instead of usual starter Tanner Morgan, who suffered an upper-body injury last week against Nebraska.

Kaliakmanis only attempted 13 passes, completing seven of them for 64 yards.

The Golden Gophers moved into a four-way tie for first place in the Big Ten West.

Malik Washington caught six passes for 97 yards and quarterback Brendan Sullivan went 9-of-11 passing for 94 yards in defeat for Northwestern (1-9, 1-6), which has lost nine straight since a season-opening win over Nebraska in Dublin.

Minnesota took a 7-0 lead with 3:04 remaining in the first quarter on a 6-yard touchdown run by Ibrahim, a scoring play that finished off a 9-play, 82-yard drive.

The Golden Gophers took a 14-0 lead with 7:57 left in the second quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run by Ibrahim.

Northwestern got on the board with 1:27 remaining until halftime, cutting Minnesota’s lead to 14-3 after a 35-yard field goal by Adam Stage.

On its first drive of the second half, Minnesota took a 17-3 lead after a 41-yard field goal by Matthew Trickett with 12:16 left in the third quarter. The field goal came after the Golden Gophers got the ball at the 25-yard line of Northwestern following an interception.

Ibrahim then scored on another 1-yard touchdown run with 14:57 remaining to give Minnesota a 24-3 lead.

With 4:24 remaining, Minnesota took a 31-3 lead on a 6-yard touchdown run by Zach Evans.

Minnesota outrushed Northwestern, 302-72, and held the ball for 40:22.

Trey Potts flanked Ibrahim by rushing for 63 yards on 10 carries for Minnesota.

–Field Level Media

Oct 29, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers running back Mohamed Ibrahim (24) evades Rutgers Scarlet Knights defensive lineman Aaron Lewis (71) in the first quarter at Huntington Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports

Mohamed Ibrahim rushes for 3 TDs, Minnesota blanks Rutgers

Mohamed Ibrahim rushed for three touchdowns and Minnesota’s defense was dominant in the Golden Gophers’ 31-0 win over visiting Rutgers Saturday in Big Ten play at Minneapolis.

Ibrahim, who rushed for 159 yards on 36 carries, broke the school record for rushing touchdowns and finished with the day with 46.

The Golden Gophers chewed up 10 minutes and 27 seconds of game clock in the first half, finishing a 19-play, 99-yard drive with Ibrahim’s 2-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter.

Ibrahim’s second score, came on a fourth-and-1 play with 5:14 to play in the first half, He ended the day in the top 10 all-time in the Big Ten in rushing touchdowns.

The Gophers (5-3, 2-3 Big Ten) ended a three-game losing streak.

About the only highlights of the game for the Scarlet Knights (4-4, 1-4) were two Adam Korsak punts. The first was downed at the Minnesota 1-yard line in the first quarter, and the second traveled 77 yards in the second quarter. He averaged 51.2 on five punts.

Rutgers quarterback Gavin Wimsatt, one of three rotational quarterbacks for the Scarlet Knights, got the start and played the first half. He lost a fumble and guided his offense to only 58 total yards.

Things didn’t get much better for Rutgers in the second half. The Scarlet Knights couldn’t find any more rhythm on offense, and Wimsatt threw an interception to Sean Ryan with 11:08 to play in the game.

That led to Ibrahim’s third touchdown, a 28-yard run that put the game away with Minnesota taking a 21-0 lead. Ibrahim’s day was essentially over after that, the star running back having put in plenty of work on the afternoon.

Noah Vedral entered the game for Wimsatt with 10:10 to play, but it was too little, too late to try to give life to Rutgers’ offense. The Scarlet Knights managed just 134 yards of total offense. Minnesota had 375.

Tanner Morgan returned at quarterback for the Gophers after missing last weekend’s game due to injury. Matthew Trickett’s 31-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter and Bryce Williams’ 3-yard touchdown run after another interception finished off Minnesota’s first conference game shutout in 18 years.

–Field Level Media

Oct 22, 2022; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers running back Mohamed Ibrahim (24) runs with the ball during the first quarter against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

Hosting Rutgers, Minnesota tries to halt three-game slide

Minnesota seeks to snap a three-game losing streak Saturday when the Golden Gophers host Rutgers in a Big Ten conference matchup in Minneapolis.

After a 4-0 start, including three wins against non-threatening nonconference opponents, Minnesota (4-3 overall, 1-3 in Big Ten) has lost three straight conference matchups. The Gophers have been without quarterback Tanner Morgan, who is dealing with a concussion, and could again turn to Athan Kaliakmanis should Morgan not clear protocol.

Morgan has progressed, but it’s too early to tell if he would be ready to return.

Kaliakmanis was a coveted recruit and showed flashes of what makes him an exciting piece of the future.

He gave the Minnesota offense a jolt of energy in a 45-17 loss at Penn State last Saturday. Head coach P.J. Fleck said no one is happy about the last three games, but the team can either remain where it is or change.

“I think we have a very confident football team that needs to get back to playing confident,” Fleck said. “But that’s earned as well.”

He added that the Minnesota pass rush has not fared well (nine sacks) and the pass defense has to improve.

On the bright side, running back Mohamed Ibrahim has totaled 796 yards and 10 touchdowns and is averaging 5.9 yards per carry.

Rutgers (4-3, 1-3) picked up a 24-17 win over Indiana at home last Saturday as Scarlet Knights running back Samuel Brown V ran for 101 yards.

Rutgers has a winning record through seven games for the first time since 2014. The program is sixth in the nation in rushing defense (87.4 yards per game) and seventh in total defense (283.9 yards per game).

On special teams, Rutgers leads the Big Ten and is third in the country with four blocked kicks. Offensively, the Scarlet Knights have had 12 players score at least one touchdown.

Fleck and Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano worked together in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012, when Fleck was on head coach Schiano’s staff.

“I knew probably a day into his time (there) that he was going to be a head coach,” Schiano said of Fleck.

Rutgers has averaged just 11 points per game in its three losses. The Knights could start Noah Vedral, Gavin Wimsatt or Evan Simon at quarterback against Minnesota.

–Field Level Media

Oct 15, 2022; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA;  Penn State Nittany Lions running back Nicholas Singleton (10) rushes in the second half against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

No. 16 Penn State takes on Minnesota, looks to bounce back

No. 16 Penn State will aim to regain its footing after being run over in its most recent outing when it hosts Big Ten rival Minnesota on Saturday night in State College, Pa.

The Nittany Lions (5-1, 2-1) tumbled six spots in The Associated Press Top 25 poll after surrendering 418 yards rushing in a 41-17 setback to then-No. 5 Michigan last Saturday.

Penn State will bid to tie up loose ends this Saturday during its annual “White Out” game.

As for whether Nittany Lions starting quarterback Sean Clifford will be under center on Saturday remains to be seen. Clifford exited last week’s game late in the third quarter due to an undisclosed injury, prompting freshman Drew Allar to oversee the team’s last two offensive series.

“As you guys know, unless it’s a season-ending injury, I typically don’t announce that,” coach James Franklin said Tuesday of Clifford’s health status. “… Nothing has changed with the plan or the model at this stage.”

Franklin was blunt when asked about calls for Allar to get the start against Minnesota.

“No. 1, that’s the wrong message. That’s the wrong signal,” Franklin said. “Sean has earned the right to be on the field.”

Clifford threw for 340 yards and a touchdown in Penn State’s last meeting with Minnesota but was intercepted three times in a 31-26 loss on Nov. 9, 2019.

The Nittany Lions’ Nicholas Singleton is averaging a robust 7.0 yards per carry. He leads the team in rushing yards (482) and rushing touchdowns (five). Kaytron Allen posted his fourth rushing touchdown of the season last week.

Like Penn State, Minnesota (4-2, 1-2) is bidding to get back on its feet. The Golden Gophers won their first four games by a combined 183-24 score before dropping a 20-10 decision to Purdue on Oct. 1 and falling 26-14 at then-No. 24 Illinois last Saturday.

Also like Penn State, Minnesota has injury concerns.

Starting quarterback Tanner Morgan sustained a head injury against the Fighting Illini, although coach P.J. Fleck isn’t ruling him out vs. the Nittany Lions.

Fleck, on Monday, said that decision will be made by the team’s medical staff.

“That stuff is out of my hands,” Fleck said. “I just know that he appreciates all the prayers, thoughts, support and text messages from everybody. I know we do, as well, as a team. … But he’s in our medical care, under that umbrella right now. He’s doing very well.”

If Morgan is unable to play, the Golden Gophers will turn to either junior Cole Kramer or sophomore Athan Kaliakmanis.

“I like them both,” Fleck said. “Cole’s got a lot more experience, but when you look at Athan, he’s really talented. It’s just what will he be able to process, bring all in, go out there and execute? Those are the decisions we’ll make as we keep going forward. But I’ll have confidence in whoever is out there, that’s for sure.”

Minnesota has relied heavily on Mohamed Ibrahim, who is averaging 138.8 yards rushing per game and has run for at least 100 yards in 14 consecutive games.

–Field Level Media

Oct 15, 2022; Champaign, Illinois, USA;  Illinois Fighting Illini running back Chase Brown (2) scores a touchdown during the first half against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

No. 24 Illinois takes over in second half to stop Minnesota

Chase Brown finished with 233 yards from scrimmage as No. 24 Illinois beat Minnesota 26-14 on Saturday at Champaign, Ill.

Brown rushed for 180 yards on 41 carries and also hauled in three receptions for 53 yards and a touchdown to lead the Fighting Illini (6-1, 3-1 Big Ten) to their fifth straight win.

Illini quarterback Tommy Devito threw for 252 yards and a touchdown on 25-of-32 passing, and Isaiah Williams had nine catches for 62 yards.

Mohamed Ibrahim eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the 14th straight game, finishing with 127 along with a TD on 15 carries for the Golden Gophers (4-2, 1-2).

Minnesota’s Tanner Morgan struggled to get the passing game going, completing just 4 of 12 passes for 21 yards and an interception before exiting the game in the fourth with an apparent head injury.

Ibrahim scored on Minnesota’s first offensive play of the second half after Quentin Redding returned the opening kickoff 92 yards to the Illinois 8. A horse collar tackle moved the ball to the 4, and Ibrahim punched it in for a 14-13 advantage.

The quick score didn’t faze the Illini as they answered with a seven-play, 75-yard drive in just 2 minutes, 49 seconds that ended with Devito’s 5-yard touchdown on a keeper.

Fabrizio Pinton added a pair of fourth-quarter field goals to seal the victory.

Illinois wasted no time getting on the board, as Devito found a wide-open Brown on a wheel route, and he scampered up the sideline for a 40-yard touchdown. Brown accounted for 64 of the 75 yards on the nine-play drive to open the game.

Pinton kicked a 31-yard field goal at the beginning of the second quarter to extend the Illini lead to 10-0.

The Golden Gophers responded on the ensuing drive, going 80 yards in eight plays to pull within 10-7. Ibrahim’s 44-yard run set up a 9-yard scoring rush from Morgan, which was the first TD that Illinois has allowed at home this season.

Pinton made good on a 23-yard field goal with 20 seconds left in the first half to send the Illini into the break with a 13-7 edge.

–Field Level Media

Minnesota's Tanner Morgan throws a pass against Michigan State during the first quarter on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing.

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Minnesota QB Tanner Morgan leaves after blow to helmet

Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan exited Saturday’s game against No. 24 Illinois in the fourth quarter with an apparent head injury.

On a third-and-7, Morgan took off on a run and received a shot to the helmet from a pair of Illini defenders. He stayed on the ground before trainers helped him off the field to the medical tent and was then carted to the locker room.

Prior to exiting, Morgan completed just 4-of-12 passes for 21 yards with an interception. He also rushed for 23 yards on six carries and found the end zone once.

Athan Kaliakmanis took over at quarterback for the Golden Gophers.

–Field Level Media

Sep 24, 2022; East Lansing, Michigan, USA;  Minnesota Golden Gophers running back Mohamed Ibrahim (24) runs for a first down in the second quarter against the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Young-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota moves to 4-0 with 34-7 road rout over Michigan State

Tanner Morgan went 23-of-26 passing for 268 yards and three touchdown to lead Minnesota to a 34-7 road win at Michigan State on Saturday in East Lansing, Mich.

Mohamed Ibrahim rushed for 103 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries for Minnesota (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten), which outgained Michigan State, 508-240.

The Golden Gophers also had an enormous 42:30 of possession time, outrushed Michigan State (2-2, 0-1), 240-38, and forced three Michigan State turnovers.

Payton Thorne went 17-of-24 passing for 132 yards and two interceptions for Michigan State.

Minnesota dominated the first quarter, first taking a 7-0 lead on a 2-yard touchdown run by Ibrahim on the first drive of the game, which finished off a 10-play, 75-yard drive.

The Golden Gophers then marched 77 yards in nine plays and took a 14-0 lead with 2:57 remaining in the first on a 23-yard touchdown pass from Morgan to Daniel Jackson.

At the end of the first quarter, Minnesota had 169 yards and 14 first downs to 1 yard and no first downs for Michigan State.

Minnesota again drove the field and took a 17-0 lead with 10:14 left in the second quarter on a 26-yard field goal by Matthew Trickett.

On the first possession of the second half, Michigan State’s offense drove all the way down to the Minnesota 6-yard line, but on a first-down carry Thorne fumbled.

The ball was recovered by Minnesota’s Justin Walley and returned to the Minnesota 10.

The Golden Gophers then took the ball, drove 90 yards and took a 24-0 lead with 3:26 remaining in the third on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Morgan to Nick Kallerup.

Following an interception, Minnesota took a 31-0 lead with 14:08 remaining in the game on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Morgan to Jackson.

Trickett made it 34-0 Minnesota on a 22-yard field goal with 1:48 remaining.

Michigan State broke up the shutout on a 27-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Noah Kim to Germie Bernard with 17 seconds remaining.

–Field Level Media