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(Saturday, September 21)
Final Score: Minnesota 43, San Jose State 24
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 half.
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 Illinois.
09/21 16:37:23 ET