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Gophers establish three major positives with huge win over Nebraska

Three things to like about this squad in Fleck's first year.

Three major positives for Gopher football following their 54-21 home drubbing over the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Saturday. 

The running game is a powerhouse right now

Minnesota racked up 409 rushing yards on the Cornhusker defense at TCF Bank Stadium Saturday afternoon. 

They now average 195.7 yards per game, which is good for fourth in the Big Ten (trailing only Ohio State, Michigan, and Wisconsin).

One element not to be overlooked: the depth of Minnesota's ground game. They have four players on their roster (including QB Demry Croft) who have carried the ball at least 50 times. 

Rodney Smith, who opened Saturday's win with a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, leads Minnesota with 171 carries through 10 games.

Demry Croft looks to be solidifying himself as the quarterback of the future

Croft's passing numbers from Saturday won't wow anyone: 9-of-15 for 105 yards. 

But take those lackluster passing numbers with a grain of salt because he was running rampant all over the Cornhuskers.

Croft is beginning to look like a dual-threat quarterback that can win football games at the Big Ten level. He more than made up for any passing deficiencies by carrying the football 10 times for an astonishing 183 yards and 3 touchdowns. 

This team could still go bowling

Five wins in the bank, two games left on the schedule, and no quit in sight for this team.

“They practiced better than they have all year,'" Fleck told the Star Tribune's Sid Hartman. "For a team that was 4-5 overall and 1-5 in the Big Ten, everybody on them hard, tough, for them to come out and play the way they did today, that shows their courage, their strength. The process, the culture. I’m proud of them for that.”

Saturday's victory came in convincing wire-to-wire fashion. The 'Huskers were able to even the score a couple of times in the first half, but Croft and the Gophers offense capped of drive after drive with touchdown all game long. 

The win gives them five on the season, making them eligible for a bowl game even if they finish with a losing record. 

Minnesota can boost its bowl resume with a win over Northwestern next weekend – a Northwestern team that needed overtime to beat Nebraska just a week ago.

Check out the highlights from the 54-21 win over Nebraska. 

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