For the first time since the Franklin Roosevelt administration, No. 17 Minnesota is 8-0. The Golden Gophers polished off their latest victory to get out to its best start since winning the national championship in 1941 with a pounding of Maryland Saturday afternoon, 52-10.
Minnesota just seems to be getting stronger and stronger as the season plays on, and Saturday at home against Maryland was a matchup nightmare for the Terrapins. Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan had a couple of touchdown passes and Rodney Smith rushed for 103 yards. Seth Green scored twice on the ground. Maryland’s offense was no match for a Minnesota team that arguably played its finest game of the season. Coney Durr and Antoine Winfield Jr. each picked off a pass by Maryland quarterback Tyrell Pigrome, who was later replaced by Josh Jackson. Maryland managed just two third-down conversions and 210 yards as Minnesota jumped on them early and never let up.
Next up for Minnesota is its biggest challenge yet. After getting a bye week next week, Minnesota will host No. 8 Penn State (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten) on Nov. 9. Penn State also improved its record to 8-0 on Saturday afternoon at the same time.
The showdown between Big Ten undefeated teams should make for quite a scene for the Gophers program as they continue to grow, or row, their way to a Big Ten West title that is becoming more and more realistic by the week. Minnesota now owns a two-game lead in the loss column in the Big Ten West standings after Wisconsin lost earlier in the day at Ohio State. Minnesota’s November is a tall order though with games against Penn State, at Iowa, at Northwestern and home against Wisconsin to close out the regular season. Minnesota’s biggest challenges are to come, but they have an incredible path to the Big Ten championship game all under their control.
What once seemed like a potential season of promise for Maryland has now turned into one which will see the Terrapins scrambling for bowl eligibility. And it’s an uphill battle to get there. Maryland will host Michigan next week and then play at Ohio State the week after that. For bowl eligibility to remain in play, Maryland must win one of those two games.