With many Gophers’ players playing their first collegiate game, P.J. Fleck and Co. couldn’t have asked for much more from the Gophers football team on Thursday night. Starting quarterback Zack Annexstad silenced the naysayers, throwing for 162 yards with two touchdowns to Tyler Johnson. Redshirt Sophomore Seth Green ran in two TD’s on two Wildcat plays and Antoine Winfield Jr. returned a punt 76 yards.
All that was in the first 30 minutes.
“I’m really proud of our players tonight all-around offense, defense and special teams,” P.J. Fleck said. “I think we ended up playing 24 freshmen as well. I thought we accomplished everything we wanted to accomplish.”
11: First downs by the Gophers in the second quarter alone, leading to 28 points.
10: Completions by Gophers walk-on Freshman Zack Annexstad in the first half. Four of those completions went to Tyler Johnson while Chris Autman-Bell caught three, Rashod Bateman grabbed two and Demetrius Douglas brought in one.
1: Punt block by Sam Renner, the Junior out of Maple Grove, MN. the blocked punt led to a third quarter 27-yard field goal by Emmit Carpenter.
189: All-purpose yard for Rodney Smith. The 5-11, 210-pound running back rushed for 153 yards while catching for 21 yards and returning for 15 yards.
3: Pass breakups by Freshman Terell Smith in his first collegiate game. Smith also tied the team lead with 8 total tackles. Blake Cashman also had eight tackles.
“I think they played a lot more physical than we did,” New Mexico Head Coach Doug Martin said. “They blocked well, they ran hard. I thought the quarterback (Annexstad) executed their offense really well too. They just out-executed us.”
4: Different Gophers with a touchdown run, reception, or punt return. Seth Green had two touchdowns while Tyler Johnson, Bryce Williams and Antoine Winfield Jr. each had one. There were also four different Gophers with a sack in Thursday’s win (Cashman, Rush, Huff, and Coughlin.
“We talked about what we would do if we had a third quarterback,” Fleck said about Seth Green. “This was all the way back in the spring. He is so good with the ball in his hand, he is a wideout, he’s big, he’s strong. We felt that it was the right time to be able to do those things and I thought he took advantage of his opportunity.”
220: Total passing yards by Zack Annexstad, completing 16 of his 33 passes. Annexstad had two touchdown passes--both to Tyler Johnson--and a long pass of 33 yards.
“Congratulations to Minnesota,” Martin said. “They’re a really well-coached football team and I thought they did a great job tonight. Just too physical for us at this point.”
41,291: Announced attendance for game No. 1 of the season. The Gopher begin the season with three straight home games. The team’s next home game is on Sept. 8 vs. Fresno State. Kickoff is 6:30 p.m.
41: Unanswered points from the Gophers offense/special teams after New Mexico State took a 10-7 lead with 14:10 remaining in the first half.
“One thing that I told the team in the locker room, every time I looked into their eyes, they wanted to be coached,” Fleck said. “They wanted to respond in the right ways. There wasn’t any bad body language going on. Players were coach players, players were talking to coaches, coaches were coaching players, it was a camaraderie, it was connectivity, it was family, it was love. That was something I wanted to see.”
Tag(s): Gopher Football