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Ibrahim, Minnesota blank Rutgers 31-0 to stop 3-game skid

Ibrahim extended his streak of 100-yard games to 16 straight with some of his finest work to date.

MINNEAPOLIS — Mohamed Ibrahim rushed for 159 yards and three touchdowns on 36 carries to lead Minnesota past Rutgers 31-0 on Saturday to stop a three-game losing streak.

Quarterback Tanner Morgan crisply returned from a concussion that kept him out of the previous game for the Gophers (5-3, 2-3 Big Ten), who enjoyed a 19-play, 99-yard drive on their first possession that drained 10:24 off the clock.

They converted 13 of 19 third downs and were in full control on this sun-drenched 69-degree afternoon, turning the second half into a snoozer and giving coach P.J. Fleck a victory over his mentor and former boss Greg Schiano. The Gophers had the ball for 41:02.

Minnesota's revived defense produced a punishing and unrelenting performance against a Scarlet Knights team missing leading rusher Samuel Brown V and still dealing with quarterback instability.

Gavin Wimsatt made his second career start, going 6 for 17 for 68 yards. He threw the first of two interceptions by Tyler Nubin at the Rutgers 33 early in the fourth quarter that set up Ibrahim's third score and put the game out of reach.

That was Ibrahim's 46th career touchdown, breaking the all-time program record held by Darrell Thompson, who cheered the feat from his perch in the radio broadcast booth.

Wimsatt was replaced by Noah Vedral, the sixth-year player who started the previous three games, when he took a shoulder-to-shoulder hit at the end of a run and had his head snap back hard against the turf midway through the fourth quarter.

The Scarlet Knights (4-4, 1-4), who are chasing their first winning record since their inaugural Big Ten season, had just 134 total yards of offense in the type of game that got offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson fired earlier this month and replaced on an interim basis by Nunzio Campanile.

Ibrahim extended his streak of 100-yard games to 16 straight with some of his finest work to date. Behind a rejuvenated line, the sixth-year star continually found space and broke tackles in the middle of the field against a rugged Rutgers team that entered the game ranked sixth in the FBS and third in the conference in rushing defense.

He hurt his left ankle late in the third quarter, too, but after treatment in the tent he rejoined the offense with a taped-up foot after logging 31 carries over the first three quarters.

Morgan, who was knocked out of the 26-14 defeat at Illinois on Oct. 16, bounced back from a couple of rough performances prior to his injury. Morgan went 14 for 21 for 122 yards and rushed three times for 17 yards without a turnover.

Between Morgan and freshman Athan Kaliakmanis, who took the helm in the 45-17 loss at Penn State last week, the Gophers averaged 13.7 points over the previous three games while completing only 33 of 73 passes with seven interceptions and just one touchdown.


After a breakout game in the win over Indiana last week with 28 carries for 101 yards in his first career start, the freshman Brown was ruled out for the Scarlet Knights. NJ Advance Media reported Brown will miss the rest of the season with a foot injury.


Rutgers punter Adam Korsak showed off his strong Australian-bred skills yet again, with a 77-yard punt in the first quarter that landed 2 yards short of his own program record. Korsak has five of the 11 longest punts in Rutgers history.

The field position hardly helped, though. The Gophers responded with a 13-play, 86-yard drive on their second possession capped by another touchdown by Ibrahim.


Rutgers: With No. 4 Michigan and No. 13 Penn State looming on the schedule in November, the Scarlet Knights really needed a win here toward bowl-game eligibility. They're 12-18 in three years under Schiano in his second stint with the program.

Minnesota: After their 4-0 start raised hope of a Big Ten West title, the Gophers were grounded hard this month. They quietly reset their goals and started their own "Gopher Football Playoff” to rekindle their mojo over the final five games.


Rutgers: Hosts No. 4 Michigan next Saturday night.

Minnesota: Plays at Nebraska next Saturday afternoon.

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