Minnesota 30, NE Louisiana 3
MONROE, La. (AP) _ Freshman Thomas Hamner ran for 154 yards, leading Minnesota to a 30-3 victory over Northeast Louisiana on Saturday night.
Minnesota (1-0) was the Big Ten’s No. 2 passing team last year and in the top 25 nationally. But against Northeast (1-1), the Gophers cranked up their ground game, running for 283 yards while passing for 151.
The Gophers held a team without a touchdown for the first time since a 6-3 win over Purdue in 1991.
The game was the first regular-season contest in Louisiana for Minnesota. The Gophers played in the 1985 Independence Bowl in Shreveport, beating Clemson 20-13.
A Malone Stadium record crowd of 24,842 watched the game. The attendance figure broke the stadium record of 23,900 set in 1982.
Hamner scored the first Minnesota touchdown on a 2-yard plunge as the Gophers drove 65 yards with the opening kickoff.
Northeast scored on a 32-yard field goal by Cory Babineaux late in the opening period to narrow the score to 7-3.
But Minnesota scored three times in the second quarter for a 23-3 lead. Adam Bailey kicked a 36-yard field goal early in the period. Then Cory Sauter hit tight end Troy Duerr with a 9-yard scoring pass midway through the second quarter to end a 61-yard drive.
Second string tailback Byron Evans, another freshman, scored the final touchdown of the opening half with a 5-yard run to end a 70-yard march with eight seconds left in the half. Evans ran for 82 yards.
Northeast quarterback Raymond Philyaw, No. 12 in the nation in total offense last year, was held to 9-of-20 passing for 136 yards.
Minnesota drove 45 yards for its fourth touchdown late in the third period, with Sauter scoring on a 4-yard quarterback sneak to make the score 30-3. Sauter, No. 2 in Big Ten passing last year, passed sparingly, completing 15 of 27 passes for 151 yards.
Northeast made its deepest penetration late in the game when a 29-yard pass from backup quarterback Bo Meeks to Richard Love put the ball on the 5. But Julius Alcee was tackled at the 1 on a fourth-down pass from Meeks after the Indians were pushed back to the 10.