PJ Fleck's run-first formula key in his first Big Ten victory

Gophers head coach earned his first Big Ten win at Homecoming on Saturday
Author:
Updated:
Original:

It was a happy homecoming for PJ Fleck after he earned his first career Big Ten win with a 24-17 victory at TCF Bank Stadium.

Kobe McCrary took over the backfield with 153 rush yards and the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter, meanwhile Rodney Smith put up a respectable 103 yards rushing of his own.

However, the play of the game for the Gophers came in the fourth quarter when senior linebacker Jonathan Celestin intercepted an Illini pass and returned it all the way to the house to put the game out of reach.

Check out the highlights from Saturday's homecoming win!

Demry Croft got the nod as the starting quarterback for the Gophers. 

In a start that had some ups and downs, he led the team on an opening possession drive where he found wide receiver Tyler Johnson for an eight-yard touchdown. 

However, he was only able to complete 5/15 passing for 47 yards. 

The Gophers made two things clear Saturday: Their rushing attack (295 yards Saturday) is lethal. Meanwhile, the passing attack is a work in progress.

The Gophers will hit the road and head to Iowa next Saturday. The Hawkeyes (4-3, 1-3 in Big Ten) came up short in an overtime loss at Northwestern on Saturday.

Next Up

Adam Thielen

Vikings place Adam Thielen on COVID-19/reserve list

Thielen is coming off a two-touchdown game against the Cowboys.

MCF Oak Park Heights

COVID-positive inmate at Oak Park Heights prison dies

He becomes the fourth prison inmate to die from the virus.

Screen Shot 2020-11-23 at 1.08.19 PM

2-ton smoker stolen from Twin Cities chef Thomas Boemer

Boemer is the chef behind restaurants including the popular Revival.

Governor Tim Walz

Walz says relief package is coming for Minnesota small businesses

Walz is prepared to call a special session and pass the package immediately.

Governor Tim Walz

Watch live: Gov. Tim Walz COVID-19 press conference Monday

Walz will be introducing a new app that helps Minnesotans track COVID-19 exposures.

Related

Big Ten coaches dish on the Gophers, PJ Fleck

Plenty of questions remain, but coaching peers are noticing Minnesota's growth.

Nelson, Carter earn weekly Big Ten honors after weekend victory

Senior cornerback Michael Carter and freshman quarterback Philip Nelson are being recognized by the Big Ten Conference for their performance in the Gophers's 44-28 win over Purdue on Saturday, Fox Sports North reports. Nelson was named co-Big Ten Freshman of the Week, while Carter was named co-Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week.

Emmit Carpenter kicks his way to the top of the Big Ten

Emmit Carpenter becomes first Gopher to win Big Ten Kicker of the Year award.

Emmit Carpenter kicks his way to the top of the Big Ten

Emmit Carpenter becomes first Gopher to win Big Ten Kicker of the Year award.

Gophers upset No. 7 Indiana for first Big Ten victory

It looked like the Gophers were on a collision course with an 0-5 Big Ten record, but they shocked the world by going into Assembly Hall and upsetting No. 7 Indiana, 77-74 Thursday night.

Gophers fall to Iowa 14-7; remain winless in Big Ten play

The Gophers football team fell again on Saturday to the Iowa Hawkeyes 14-7. With the loss Minnesota is 0-2 to Big Ten play.