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Darius Taylor runs for 193 yards, Minnesota beats Eastern Michigan 25-6

Sean Tyler added 93 yards on the ground for Minnesota, which had just 55 rushing yards in last week’s season-opening 13-10 win against Nebraska.

MINNEAPOLIS — Darius Taylor ran for 193 of Minnesota’s 296 yards and a touchdown, and the Gophers pulled away in the second half to beat Eastern Michigan 25-6 Saturday night.

Sean Tyler added 93 yards on the ground for Minnesota, which had just 55 rushing yards in last week’s season-opening 13-10 win against Nebraska.

Early in the year, Minnesota (2-0) is seeking how to best replace Mohamed Ibrahim, the school’s all-time leading rusher. Sixth-year running back Bryce Williams did not play, leaving plenty of opportunities for Tyler and Taylor.

Tyler ran for 2,820 yards the past four seasons at Western Michigan and had 10 carries for 41 yards against the Cornhuskers. Taylor, a true freshman, had one carry for 3 yards last week.

A dynamic 1-2 punch against the Eagles, the duo combined for 48 yards during an 11-play, 93-yard second-quarter drive — aided by two pass interference penalties on Eastern Michigan — before Taylor scored from the 2.

The pair added 67 yards during a 75-yard third-quarter drive that ended in a short field goal. Taylor had 28 yards on a later drive capped by a 1-yard sneak from quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis for a 19-6 lead.

Eastern Michigan (1-1), a program with four wins over Power Five teams since 2017, got 73 rushing yards from Samson Evans. Austin Smith was 9-of-20 passing for 71 yards. Jesús Gómez had 20- and 37-yard field goals. The Eagles did not have a first down in the second half and had a punt blocked for a safety.


Eastern Michigan’s Jaylon Jackson and Hamze El-Zayat, who each ran back a kickoff in last week’s 33-23 season opening win against Howard, had no opportunities because all six Minnesota kickoffs went through the end zone.


Eastern Michigan: The Eagles need to shore up a run defense that has allowed an average of 250 yards on the ground in its first two games. FCS-member Howard had 204 last week.

Minnesota: After seeing Kaliakmanis throw 44 times against Nebraska, Minnesota found some much-needed success on the ground. The Gophers need to be better at finishing drives. In its first four trips to the red zone, including twice inside the 5, Minnesota managed just one touchdown and two field goals.


Eastern Michigan: Home against Massachusetts on Saturday.

Minnesota: At No. 17 North Carolina on Saturday for the first meeting between the schools.

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