The Gophers shook off a shaky start and got things rolling to a 42-20 victory over Eastern Illinois on Thursday night.
On their first three possessions the Gophers punted twice and fumbled once . After that, the offense settled down and by the end of the first quarter the Gophers had taken the lead.
Mitch Leidner helped the Gophers take advantage of a short field when he put Minnesota on the scoreboard with a two-yard touchdown run.
Leidner led the Gophers on a drive before the end of the half when he connected with wide receiver Donovan Jones for a 35-yard touchdown, to extend the lead to 14-0.
Early in the third, the Gophers special teams made a big play as Logan Hutton recovered a blocked punt for the touchdown and the rout was on.
Leidner added a second touchdown run in the third and Berkley Edwards also added a touchdown.
David Cobb carried the ball 14 times for 71 yards. Leidner ran for two touchdowns and threw for a third. He completed nine of 17 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown.
Eastern Illinois put up 20 points, all in the second half after the Gophers had built a 35-0 lead.
The Gophers (1-0) host Middle Tennessee State on Sept. 6 at 2:30 p.m.