Berkley Edwards Has Sparkling Debut

Aug. 28, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS -- Head coach Jerry Kill's Gophers did what they needed to do to open their third consecutive season with a victory, defeating Eastern Illinois by a score of 42-20 on Thursday night at TCF Bank Stadium. Three different Gophers' first career touchdowns helped provide a boost.

Minnesota tallied four rushing touchdowns among its six scores, jumping ahead 42-7 before the Panthers added a pair of TDs in the final two minutes of the game.

Senior David Cobb led the Gophers with 14 carries for 71 yards, while redshirt freshman Berkley Edwards had an impressive collegiate debut by rushing for 60 yards and a pair of TDs on just four attempts.

As a team, Minnesota rushed the ball 40 times for 182 net yards in the game. Sophomore quarterback Mitch Leidner also completed 9-of-17 pass attempts for 144 yards and a TD, while adding two TDs on the ground.

Edwards, who redshirted last season after suffering an  injury late in preseason practice, made an impression in his first appearance with the Gophers. The speedy running back is the younger brother of former Michigan All-American and NFL star Braylon Edwards. His first score was a 1-yard attempt early in the fourth quarter. Edwards found the end zone again on a 42-yard breakaway down the left sideline.

"Berkley Edwards is like lightning in a bottle," Kill said. "We've got to find a way to keep feeding him the ball."

Minnesota had just 21 yards of total offense after the first quarter, but led 7-0 thanks to the first of Leidner's touchdown runs. The Gophers responded with 135 yards of offense and a 35-yard TD pass from Leidner to sophomore Donovahn Jones in the second stanza. It was the first touchdown of Jones' career.

The Gophers blocked an EIU punt early in the third quarter, and Logan Hutton recovered it and scored his first touchdown to make it 21-0. With the three-score lead, Minnesota focused on the running game to wear down the clock and earn the win.

--By Michael Molde, Athletic Communications Assistant