The University of Minnesota Gopher football team began their 2016 season with a 30-23 win over the Oregon State Beavers on Thursday night.
The Gophers took a 17-14 lead into halftime but the Beavers battled back after securing a safety and a touchdown to take a 23-17 lead entering the final quarter.
However, Minnesota retaliated with running back Rodney Smith tying the game early in the 4th quarter. Eventually quarterback Mitch Leidner scored his second touchdown to give Minnesota a 30-23 lead.
After the Leidner touchdown, head coach Tracy Claeys elected to go for a two-point conversation which would have put the Gophers up by 9 points with less than 1:30 to go – but the conversation was unsuccessful.
Regardless, Minnesota’s defense held off Oregon State and secured the win.
Leidner completed 13-26 passes for 130 yards and added 76 yards on the ground which included two touchdowns. Smith rushed for 125 yards on 25 carries and also found the end zone twice.
Minnesota won despite losing three defensive starters to targeting penalties. On three different plays Cody Poock, Jonathan Celestin and Tai’yon Devers were all ejected from the game.
With the win the Gophers are 1-0 on the season and host Indiana State on Sept. 10.