Gophers replay Gophers 38, Fresno State 35
Antoine Winfield Jr. can probably never show his face in California’s Central Valley again. Almost exactly a year since his last game-saving interception in the end zone against Fresno State, he did it again, this time on the Bulldogs’ own turf. His last-play heroics and a risky fourth-and-13 call from coach P.J. Fleck to throw the ball to under-the-radar receiver Chris Autman-Bell for the tying score gave the Gophers the win. But a smattering of blunders made the triumph an unlikely feat.
“I love this team to death, and I wouldn’t want to go to battle with anybody else,” sophomore quarterback Tanner Morgan said. “They just want to put the ball down and go play. We found a way to win.”
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• Carter Coughlin’s status: Limited at the end of Week 1’s game and in practice over the week because of an undisclosed injury, the senior rush end didn’t start the game, ceding his spot to senior Tai’yon Devers. But he did work into plenty of series and even made a sack for a loss of 9 yards.
• Kamal Martin’s return: The senior linebacker missed the season opener, continuing his bowl game suspension from last season for violating team rules. He led the team with 13 tackles and added a pass breakup, stabilizing what was a shaky position group in the first game.
• Michael Lantz’s first field goal: Nothing like a true freshman kicker facing his first career field goal in a double-overtime pressure cooker. It was also about the same distance as his missed point-after kick in Week 1 after a penalty pushed him back. But Lantz drilled his 37-yarder to give the Gophers their winning score and went 5-for-5 on his extra points.
Up next: vs. Georgia Southern
2:30 p.m. Saturday, TCF Bank Stadium (BTN)
The skinny: However improbable, the Gophers have their 17-game nonconference unbeaten streak intact. They’ll look to extend that against another Group of Five foe, a team coming off a dominant rushing performance without its injured quarterback.
The 1-1 Eagles — who were 10-3 last year — lost 55-3 to No. 6 LSU on the road to open their season, posting just 98 total offensive yards and losing quarterback Shai Werts for the second half with an injury. But they bounced back with a 26-18 victory against Maine on Saturday, accumulating 458 offensive yards, nearly all of those on the ground.
Freshman Justin Tomlin started for Werts and ran for 132 yards and a score. Sophomore running back Matt LaRoche rushed for 154 plus a touchdown, and sophomore running back Logan Wright contributed 114 yards.