Sophomore Marion Barber III tied the school record with four rushing touchdowns as Minnesota defeated Ohio University, 42-20, on Saturday afternoon in Athens, Ohio. The Golden Gophers improve to 3-0 on the season.
Minnesota jumped on the Bobcats early with a nine-play, 80-yard drive to start the game. Asad Abdul-Khaliq completed both his pass attempts on the drive, but the Golden Gophers ran though Ohio as Barber capped off the attack with a three-yard touchdown run.
With Minnesota leading 7-0, Ohio took over at its own 35 yard line. On its first play, quarterback Fred Ray was hit by Kyle McKenzie and fumbled the ball. Anthony Montgomery fell on it and the Golden Gophers were back on offense at Ohio's 28. Barber struck again, this time from four yards out to make it 14-0.
The Bobcats regrouped on their next possession and drove into Minnesota territory, but Greg DiMarino missed a 41 yard field goal. Following a three and out for Minnesota, Ohio finally capitalized as Ray scored the first of three rushing touchdowns.
As was the case all day, Minnesota responded to the Bobcat score with one of its own. Barber returned the kickoff into Ohio territory and on the first play, Abdul-Khaliq found Ben Utecht inside the 10-yard line. On third down at the three, Abdul-Khaliq threw it in the corner for Aaron Hosack who had no problem pulling it down over the 5-11 Bobcat defensive back just over a minute into the second quarter.
Unfazed, Ohio took the kickoff and drove 77 yards on 15 plays as Ray ran it in from eight yard out to make it 21-14 Minnesota.
With time winding down in the first half, Terry Jackson took his turn in the Minnesota backfield and rushed 34 yards inside the 10 yard line. Ohio kept the Golden Gophers out of the end zone and forced fourth down from the two-yard line with just one second to play. Following a timeout, Barber got the call on the pitch and followed Thomas Tapeh into the endzone to give the Golden Gophers a 28-14 halftime lead. It was the second time this season that Barber had three touchdowns in one half.
Each team traded possessions in the third quarter, but with Ohio driving, the Bobcats faced a fourth and 2 from the Golden Gopher 14. Ray's pass fell incomplete in the endzone to give the ball back to Minnesota with less than four minutes to play in the quarter.
The Golden Gophers put the game away with a nine-play, 86-yard drive as Barber scored from 19 yards out. Minnesota added another rushing score from Abdul-Khaliq and the lead was 42-14.
Ray closed out the scoring for Ohio with a 23 yard run, but Minnesota came away with the 22-point victory.
Barber finished the game with 18 carries for 104 yards and four touchdowns. With eight TDs on the season, he is just five away from the single season record held by Darrell Thompson and Jim Perkins.
Abdul-Khaliq finished the game 9-for-14 for 145 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 27 yards and a score.
Minnesota claimed its 10th straight win against non-conference opponents and will host Louisiana-Lafayette next Saturday at the Metrodome.