Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Mitch Leidner tied a school record with
fourth rushing touchdowns as the Minnesota Golden Gophers crushed the San Jose
State Spartans, 43-24, in non-conference play at TCF Bank Stadium.
Leidner, who became the first quarterback in school history to record four
rushing TDs in a single game, scored in every quarter for the Golden Gophers
(4-0) as they remained perfect after four games for the second year in a row.
The signal-caller, filling in for an injured Philip Nelson, finished the
afternoon with a game-high 151 rushing yards and also converted 5-of-12 passes
for 71 yards.
David Cobb accounted for another 125 yards and two TDs for a Minnesota squad
which rolled up 353 yards rushing on 67 attempts on the day.
The Spartans (1-2) were paced by David Fales who converted 22-of-35 for 439
yards and three scores, but he was also picked off twice. Chandler Jones
caught seven passes for 197 yards and all three of those touchdowns. SJSU was
limited to only 47 net rushing yards.
Keeping the ball on the ground exclusively, the Gophers put together an 83-
yard drive that culminated with a 10-yard touchdown run up the left side by
Leidner, giving the hosts the 7-0 advantage.
San Jose State began to move the ball late in the first frame, but the drive
stalled in the red zone and the team had to settle for a 30-yard field goal by
Austin Lopez in the opening moments of the second quarter.
Leidner added to the Minnesota advantage with a one-touchdown run later in the
second, but with a failed PAT the lead stood at 13-3.
On their next possession, the Spartans came storming back when Fales hooked up
with Jones down the right sideline for a 76-yard touchdown. With a successful
point after, SJSU cut the deficit to three with 6:52 remaining in the first
The scoring continued with the Gophers turning around and reaching the end
zone on a one-yard run by Cobbs at the three-minute mark to again push the
lead back to double digits for the hosts, 20-10.
Jones and Fales hooked up once more less than two minutes later, the pair
combining on a 32-yard TD pass play to make the score 20-17 at the break.
Early in the second half Fales was picked off deep in his own end by Aaron
Hill and the Gophers needed just three plays to get back into the end zone,
this time with Leidner bulling his way in from one yard out in order to take a
26-17 advantage, after the squad missed yet another PAT.
Minnesota added three more points at the 6:11 mark of the third when Chris
Hawthorne knocked through a 22-yard field goal.
As was the case early in the third, Leidner again kept the ball and was pushed
into the end zone from one yard out just seconds into the final period of
play, with a successful PAT giving Minnesota a 36-17 lead. The Gophers
continued to pile own midway through the fourth when, on fourth down, Cobb
scored on a one-yard run to finish off a nine-play drive.
The Spartans managed to close the gap slightly a little over two minutes later
when Fales and Jones combined on a 28-yard TD pass play, but by then it was
too little, too late.
Averaging 9.3 yards per play, SJSU generated 486 yards of total offense, but
the team converted just 1-of-9 on third down and controlled the action for
less than 19 minutes on the day.
The last time a Minnesota player registered four rushing touchdowns in a game
was in 2003 when Marion Barber turned the trick against Ohio University.
Back on the sidelines for the Golden Gophers was head coach Jerry Kill who
last week suffered yet another seizure during the meeting with Western