The Minnesota Golden Gopher football team defeated the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders 24-17 Thursday at Johnny "Red" Floyd Stadium in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
The Gophers (1-0) placed an emphasis on running the ball. Duane Bennett led the team with 187 of its 281 rushing yards. The offensive line was very impressive as the Gophers held a 281 to 146 rushing yard advantage.
The dominance on the ground helped the Gophers hold on to the ball for 45 minutes and 34 seconds of the 60 minutes. The Gophers were very impressive in the fourth quarter, holding the ball for just over 13 minutes. The Raiders only possession in the fourth quarter was a quick four-play, 17-yard drive early in the quarter.
Jon Hoese, whose father suffered a stroke earlier in the week, made the trip and had big game with three touchdowns and 26 rushing yards on eight carries. Hoese also recovered a fumble late in the fourth quarter on a kickoff that sealed the game.
The Gophers pass defense needs to improve. The pass rushers put no pressure on the Raider quarterback and the defensive backs gave the Raider wide receivers too much space. The Raiders used a quick, short passing attack to make Logan Kilgore comfortable.
The pass rush had no chance to showcase its speed and athleticism with the quick release of Kilgore. The defensive backs could have helped the pass rushers by tightening their coverage. It could have done it by playing closer to the line of scrimmage and cutting off those short passing routes.
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