Recap: New Mexico St vs. Minnesota
Las Cruces, NM (Sports Network) - Roderick Williams, Jr. rushed 16 times for 148 yards and a touchdown as the Minnesota Golden Gophers coasted to a 44-21 victory over the New Mexico State Aggies in a non-conference bout at Aggie Memorial Stadium.
Philip Nelson went 8-of-15 for 127 yards passing and also rushed for 122 and a score for Minnesota (2-0), which scored 51 points in its 28-point win over UNLV in its opener last week. Nelson was intercepted for the second consecutive game. David Cobb also made an impact as he tallied 56 yards and a touchdown on nine rushes. Aaron Hill anchored the Golden Gophers' defensive unit with 10 total stops and a fumble return touchdown.
New Mexico State (0-2) had trouble gaining yardage on the ground as it was held to 2.5 yards per carry. The loss was the second in a row to kickoff 2013 for the Aggies, who were dismantled by Texas last week. Andrew McDonald went 22-of-31 under center for 186 yards before King Davis, III. replaced him and went 7-of-9 for 67 yards. Jordan Bergstrom led all receivers with eight catches for 60 yards. Germi Morrison scored a pair of touchdowns, but was limited to just 32 yards on 19 carries. Defensively, senior safety Davis Cazares and senior linebacker Trashaun Nixon both recorded a game-high 11 tackles.
Minnesota had great starting position for its second drive thanks to a kick catching interference penalty call on NMSU. A 25-yard rush by Nelson put Chris Hawthorne in position for a 45-yard field goal that gave the Gophers a 3-0 lead with just under eight minutes left in the first quarter.
Just before the end of the first quarter, Minnesota's defense forced a three- and-out, its offense moved inside NMSU's red zone with a 48-yard pass from Nelson to Engel. The Gophers were unable to punch it in, but added to their lead with a 22-yard field goal by Hawthorne.
Minnesota finally found the end zone as Cobb finished off a nine-play, 94-yard drive with a 14-yard touchdown run. NMSU responded with a scoring drive of its own that was capped off by a two-yard touchdown run by Brandon Betancourt. Maxwell Johnson's successful extra point conversion put the Aggies down, 13-7, with 6:17 left before the intermission.
The Gophers then took control with back-to-back touchdowns. Williams, Jr. recovered his own fumble on the one-yard line and made it across the goal line with just over two minutes left in the second quarter. Then, Marcus Jones returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown to send Minnesota into halftime with a 27-7 lead.
Hawthorne converted a 27-yard field goal to finish off Minnesota's opening drive of the second half. NMSU then added another touchdown as Germi Morrison punched it in from a yard out to finish off a 72-yard drive that lasted 12 plays.
The Gophers added some insurance in the fourth quarter. Philip Nelson punched it in from a yard away to finish off a 90-yard drive that spanned over four minutes. Hill then returned a fumble by Betancourt 50 yards for a touchdown to make Minnesota's lead, 44-14, with under six minutes left in regulation.
The Aggies finished off the scoring when Morrison rushed one-yard for a score with under a minute remaining.
Minnesota gained 469 yards of total offense, with 342 coming on the ground. NMSU finished with only 356 yards of total offense in the loss.Game Notes