There are some who still question whether the Minnesota football team is for real this season, but those doubts are starting to fade away. With another win on Saturday afternoon over Maryland, the 17th-ranked Gophers improved to 8-0 on the season and are starting to pave the way for a year that the program hasn't seen since 1941.
On Saturday, the Gophers were dominant in the same ways that they have demonstrated since entering their Big Ten schedule. Although Maryland got the ball to begin the game, Antoine Winfield Jr. grabbed his nation-leading fifth interception of the season to set up a nine-yard touchdown pass from Tanner Morgan to Rashod Bateman to put the Gophers on the board.
That opening series would set the tone for a dominant first half that saw a Seth Green 10-yard touchdown run, a 16-yard touchdown pass from Morgan to Tyler Johnson and a 72-yard pick-six by Coney Durr to build a 28-3 lead at halftime.
In the second half, the Gophers added to their lead with a Michael Lantz field goal and then imposed their will on Maryland with a 16-play, 96-yard drive that ended with a Rodney Smith touchdown plunge to go up 38-3. In the fourth quarter, Green and Treyson Potts each ran for a touchdown to help Minnesota sneak away with a 45-10 victory.
With the win, Minnesota is now 5-0 in the Big Ten for the first time since 1961 and has built a 10-game winning streak dating back to their victory over Wisconsin last November.
In addition to being the fourth-longest winning streak in the country, the streak is also the longest win streak for Minnesota since the Gophers won 18 straight games during a stretch from 1939 to 1942.
Although there are great times in Dinkytown these days, the real test for the Gophers will begin after they come back from next week's bye. Minnesota will host sixth-ranked Penn State on Nov. 9 to kick off a stretch where they'll play three ranked opponents in the final four games that also includes No. 20 Iowa and No. 13 Wisconsin.