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Leidner leads Gophers to 42-20 rout of Eastern Illinois in opener

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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.

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