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Gophers throttle Huskers in 54-21 blowout

Gophers throttle Huskers in 54-21 blowout

The 54-points the Gophers scored on Saturday were the second-most they have ever put up on Nebraska, falling shy of a 61-point effort in Lincoln in 1945.

Before we praise Croft, a quick and necessary disclaimer: The Huskers are very bad defensively and played like they quit on coach Mike Riley.

And in these types of Big Ten games, teams must be able to run the ball.

Minnesota had season highs of 409 yards rushing and 514 yards of total offense while scoring its most points in a Big Ten game since 2006. He pulled the inside option, faking a handoff to running back Kobe McCrary.

Demry Croft ran for 183 yards and three touchdowns and Rodney Smith added 134 yards rushing and a kickoff return for a touchdown in Minnesota's 54-21 over Nebraska.

171 The previous Gophers rushing record by a QB, set by MarQueis Gray against Miami (Ohio) in 2011.

Croft is not the long-term answer for Fleck at quarterback.

Croft kept the ball on a pair of short touchdown runs inside the 5.

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The Gophers certainly don't have to apologize for someone else's problems, and the way Croft performed inspires optimism.

Then, Croft finished what he started, shaking and making defenders miss so he could run 1 yard for his third touchdown of the day.

"[Croft's] definitely embracing the leadership role", Smith said.

"That's what we've always wanted when we moved to him to [starter]", Gophers coach P.J. Fleck said. "I think that's where the growth has come from". "I think that's how Demry handles things really well". Croft pulled the ball out of McCrary's gut, juked the safety and had a clear path to the end zone for a 73-yard touchdown run.

Nebraska head coach Mike Riley watches his team play against Minnesota during the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, in Minneapolis. By game's end the Huskers had rushed for just 69 yards, totaled 380 and played the second half with backup quarterback Patrick O'Brien because starter Tanner Lee felt ill after taking a hit to the head. Both quarterbacks went to Eden Prairie's JD Spielman often.

On Saturday, Croft completed 9-of-15 passes for 105 yards.

After Gophers' defense was exposed in giving up 371 rushing in last weekend's 33-10 loss at MI, it kept Nebraska in check all game. The Cornhuskers are 4-6 after Saturday and 3-4 in the Big Ten and coach Mike Riley is sure to be fired in the coming days.

"It's kind of like 'Goldilocks and the Three Bears, ' " Fleck said. "The perseverance, the belief in one another. We talk about it all week, being elite and all three phases of the game, and we started it off right with special teams".

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