Gophers lead Big Ten West after routing Rutgers

After traveling east to shut out the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, the Gophers improved to 7-0 for the first time since 1960 thanks to a 42-7 victory.

After traveling east to shut out the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, the Minnesota Golden Gopher football team improved to 7-0 for the first time since 1960 thanks to a 42-7 victory. 

Unlike the last time the Gophers won their first seven games to start a season when Murray Warmath's squad defeated top-ranked Iowa, Minnesota had an easier opponent this week as the Scarlet Knights had lost their previous five games after an opening week win over Massachusets.

As the Gophers took the field, the defense would take control of the game early as Antoine Winfield would get an early interception off Johnny Langan and would also hold Rutgers to just one yard passing in the first half.

While the Gophers wouldn't have the same struggles, their offense seemed a step behind even though Rodney Smith would put Minnesota on the board with a three-yard touchdown late in the first quarter.

The Gophers would go into the locker room after Tanner Morgan hit Rashod Bateman with a 13-yard touchdowns pass and turned on the jets after halftime.

Smith had his third straight game over 100 yards as he ran for 111 with two touchdowns and Morgan chipped in throwing a second touchdown to a wide-open Tyler Johnson, who set a school record with his 12th career 100-yard game, as part of a 21-point fourth quarter.

With the game in hand, the Gophers even put in place holder Casey O'Brien, who talked at the Big Ten Media Day last August as a four-time cancer survivor. With Michael Lantz helping out the senior converting on all three extra points he held, the Gophers were able to roll over the Scarlet Knights for another victory.

The win was even bigger for Minnesota as it catapulted them to the top of the Big Ten West division after Wisconsin's loss to Illinois earlier in the day. With a 7-0 overall record and 4-0 record in the Big Ten, the Gophers will come home next week to host Maryland before receiving a bye for what could be a monstrous game against Penn State on Nov. 9.

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