Detroit, MI – The top rushers in the country, the Yellowjackets of Georgia Tech, weren’t strong enough to break through a wall of gophers in Wednesday’s Quick Lane Bowl Game at Ford Field. The Minnesota Golden Gophers’ Mohamed Ibrahim led the offensive charge for the 34-10 win.
Minnesota (7-6) brought a team that showed the 28,000 plus in attendance that it was more than capable of executing on all sides of play. Ibrahim claimed 227 of the Gophers’ 271 rushing yards for two touchdowns, his personal best. Head coach P.J. Fleck had this to say about Ibrahim’s performance this season.
“He’s not the biggest, strongest or fastest … he has that too short, too small, too this, king of the toos, which is right up my alley. This kid’s got more heart, passion, courage and plays the game the right way more than anybody I’ve ever met.”
Georgia Tech struggled with its secondary as well; Minnesota’s 6’2 redshirt Tanner Morgan threw two TDs to 6’2 junior receiver Tyler Johnson. Morgan finished the day 7-13-0 for 132 yards. He was only sacked once.
The Yellowjackets (7-6) had a shot at a comeback after a hot third quarter, but didn’t show up before then. GT runs a triple-option spread utilizing seven different backs led by senior QB TaQuon Marshall, 92 yards, and redshirt Tobias Oliver, 70. Georgia Tech didn’t break a first down chain until its fourth possession, which ended with its fourth punt. At the end of the first quarter, they were in the hole two yards.
Marshall and his backs were unable to break through Minnesota’s defensive line; they were rarely fast enough to escape down the sidelines, and they can thank Julian Huff’s nine solo tackles for that.
This loss was Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson’s final game as head coach. He finishes 83-59 as the Yellowjacket’s coach.
Before the beatdown began, fans were treated to performances from Minnesota and Georgia Tech’s marching bands. Once the crowd had returned to their seats from the National Anthem, Minnesota took over.
Minnesota marched down Ford Field and ended the first drive of the game with a 31 yard field goal from Emmit Carpenter. GT’s offense was only on the field 2:09 before they were forced to punt. The Gophers came back out to the turf teeming with determination. The underdogs’ second drive wound up in the end zone as Morgan connected with Johnson for 18 yards and six points.
Now behind by 10, Georgia Tech still had no forward progress. They would not earn a first down the second quarter.
The second half of the Quick Lane bowl did see a more composed GT offense, they scored on a 75 yard drive, but Minnesota was not about to back down.
Ibrahim punched in his TDs and Morgan found Johnson once again.
The two teams had never faced each other before. Minnesota now has a 8-12 bowl record while GT is 25-20.
SCORE BY QUARTER
M 10 3 7 14 -23
GT 0 3 7 0 – 10
M: 271 yards rushing, 132 passing, no punts, no returns, seven kickoffs.
GT: 224, 77, four punts for 75 yards, five returns for 115 yards, two kickoffs.