The result of this game wasn’t a sure thing at halftime. The Gophers led by six points, but neither team had played particularly well. The Beavers certainly helped their visitors with second-half with penalties and miscues, including a fair catch at the two-yard line. (Fox commentator and former Oregon coach Mark Helfrich: “That’s why coaches are bald.”) Here are my four takeaways from Minnesota’s victory over Oregon State:
Neither Rain, Nor Snow, Nor Dark of Night…
Everyone expects Minnesota to be able to play well in the snow. The torrential rain that started shortly before halftime could have been a different story. In fact, it made the Gophers’ strong run game an even bigger advantage. The defense was allowing OSU very little on the ground, and the offense started the second half with two quick rushing touchdowns. With the Gophers now leading by 20, the Beavers had no choice but to throw, despite the conditions. Running back Shannon Brooks, with 91 yards and three touchdowns, was named the Big Ten Player of the Week.
Conor Rhoda started the game under center for the Gophers and completed seven of eight pass attempts for 158 yards and one TD. Demry Croft played very sparingly and didn’t throw the ball, but he did break off a 64-yard TD run in the fourth quarter. My feeling is that Rhoda will eventually win the starting job, but it’s difficult to compare them as they’re very different kinds of quarterbacks.
Player of the Game: Jonathan Celestin
The whole defense was excellent on Saturday, but Celestin’s name was called on seemingly every play of the second half. He timed the Beavers’ snap count to perfection, had one of three fumble recoveries, and led the team with ten total tackles.
Special Teams on the Rebound
After making just one of his three field goal attempts against Buffalo, Emmit Carpenter was two for two in Corvallis, including one from 49 yards.
Minnesota’s victory over Oregon State is important in that this was likely their toughest non-conference game. They’ll face Middle Tennessee State this weekend, followed by a bye week, and finish the month with their first conference game against Maryland.