Leidner throws 4 touchdowns as Gophers rout Indiana State
Mitch Leidner completed 20 of 30 passes for 295 yards and four touchdowns on Saturday as Minnesota rolled to 592 total yards in a 58-28 win over Indiana State.
After struggling early in a win against Oregon State, the Gophers (2-0) were looking for a quick start, and they got it. Leidner converted three times on third down on Minnesota's opening drive. Then he dropped a 20-yard rainbow into wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky's hands in the corner of the end zone for Minnesota's first score.
Minnesota's senior quarterback kept the offense rolling all day against its FCS opponent. The Gophers scored five touchdowns and a field goal in seven first-half possessions and put points on the board in nine of the 10 drives Leidner led.
"You always say, to have a great season your seniors have to play well," Minnesota coach Tracy Claeys said. "But I'm greedy. We're not where we need to be and we need to get back to work."
Overall, Minnesota's offensive output was the sixth-most yards in school history and its most points in a game since 2006.
"Early in the game they did things right and we didn't do things well enough," Indiana State coach Mike Sanford said. "We got ourselves behind and the things kept snowpiling."
Indiana State quarterback Isaac Harker threw three touchdown passes, all to wide receiver Robert Tonyan, and caught a 10-yard touchdown off a reverse option pass by wide receiver Bob Pugh.
The Sycamores (1-1) are 0-16 all-time against teams in the current Big Ten.
MINNESOTA: Junior running back Kobe McCrary made quite an impression in his first extended duty with the Gophers. McCrary, who led the nation with 22 touchdowns last year at Butler Community College, ran 17 times for 176 yards and two touchdowns. He slashed through the Sycamores defense for a 6-yard touchdown late in the second quarter. In the fourth quarter he added a 43-yard run and a 50-yard touchdown run on the same drive. McCrary is expected to challenge sophomores Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks for snaps in the backfield. "It's a good problem to have, the people we'll have at tailback," Claeys said.
INDIANA STATE: The Sycamores' biggest gain of the day came in the first quarter when Clayton Smith caught a pass that was intended for Pugh. Minnesota defensive back Adekunle Ayinde deflected the pass, but Smith plucked it out of the air in stride and took it 58 yards to the Minnesota 20. The Sycamores ended that drive with a touchdown to tie the score 7-7.
INDIANA STATE: The Sycamores travel to Cape Girardeau, Missouri, on Saturday to take on Southeast Missouri State in a nonconference game.
MINNESOTA: The Gophers have a week off, then host Colorado State on Sept. 24. Last year the Gophers beat the Rams 23-20 in overtime at Fort Collins.