The 24th-ranked Golden Gopher football team (4-0) scored 41 first half points en route to a 48-14 win against Louisiana-Lafayette at the Metrodome on Saturday night. Minnesota had 530 yards in total offense and reached the 40-point plateau for the fourth straight game.
The Golden Gophers wasted little time in getting on the board. On its first possession, Minnesota drove to the ULL 24 and Marion Barber carried twice for nine yards and then 15 more for the touchdown with 10:38 to go in the first.
The Ragin' Cajuns gave the ball right back to the Golden Gophers as El i Ward picked off Jerry Babb at the ULL 40. It was Ward's third career interception with all of them coming against the Cajuns.
Barber collected his second touchdown of the day as he went seven yards untouched. It was Barber's 10th touchdown in four games.
After another Minnesota stop, the Golden Gophers were stopped at the ULL 37 yard line. Head Coach Glen Mason sent in his field goal unit and Rh ys Lloyd nailed the kick from 54 yards out. It was the fifth longest field goal in school history and his second 50-plus yard kick of the season.
The second quarter was more of the same as Asa d Abdul-Khaliq threw his 43rd career touchdown pass from 10 yards out to Aa ron Hosack with 11:36 to play. Leading 24-0, the Golden Gophers' Da rrell Reid recovered a Travis Smothers' fumble and Minnesota got the ball back at the ULL 21.
This time it was backup quarterback Ben ji Kamrath's turn. He punched it in from two yards out for his first career rushing touchdown.
The Ragin' Cajuns took the ensuing kickoff and finally got on the scoreboard with a nine play, 65 yard drive. Eric Rekieta completed a four yard score to Travis Cones to make it 31-7.
Minnesota responded with another field goal from Lloyd from 30 yards out with less than three minutes to play. The Golden Gopher defense held ULL and got the ball back with 1:04 to play. Marion Barber's 21 yard punt return gave the Golden Gophers prime field position at the ULL 26. Three plays later, Tho mas Tapeh pushed the score to 41-7 with a two yard run.
Following a scoreless third quarter, each team collected a touchdown. Freshman La urence Maroney broke free with a 47-yard TD run that made it 48-7. It was the longest run for a Golden Gopher this season.
ULL closed out the scoring with a Rekieta pass to Fred Stamps with just over three minutes to play.
With the 48-14 win, Minnesota claimed its 11th straight win against a non-conference opponent. The Golden Gophers have started 4-0 in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1940-41.
Barber finished the game with a game-high 136 yards and two touchdowns. Maroney collected his first 100-yard game with 121 on just 14 carries. Ja red Ellerson caught five passes for a total of 102 yards.
Minnesota will travel east to face Penn State on Saturday afternoon. The game can be seen on ESPN at 11 a.m.
This was the third meeting between Minnesota and Louisiana-Lafayette. The Golden Gophers lead the series 3-0. This was the second meeting between the two teams at the Metrodome. Minnesota defeated the Ragin' Cajuns 44-14 in 2001.
Minnesota became the 25th Division I football team and the fourth team from the Big Ten to win its 600th game. The Golden Gophers are now 600-419-44 (.585).
Minnesota is 4-0 for the second consecutive season which is the first time since the team started 8-0 in both 1940 and 1941.
Minnesota has won 11 straight games against non-conference opponents, the longest streak since the team won 15 straight from Sept. 30, 1944 through Sept. 30, 1950. The average margin of victory in those 11 contests is 30.6.
Glen Mason now has 97 career victories at Minnesota. That total ranks second to Joe Paterno among active Big Ten coaches.
Senior linebacker Be n West had played in 28 straight games before missing tonight's game due to injury.
Junior linebacker Br ian Smith made his first career start at linebacker in place of Be n West.
Senior offensive tackle Mat t McIntosh made his first career start.
With his two first quarter touchdowns, Ma rion Barber III now has 10 rushing touchdowns on the season. That total ranks eighth in school history for rushing TDs in a season. He is tied with Thomas Hamner (1999), Billy Cockerham (1999) and Darrell Thompson (1989).
With 17 career rushing touchdowns, Barber is now 13th on the school's all-time list. He passed Sonny Franck, John King and Garry White who all had 16.
Barber is the first Golden Gopher to have a touchdown in four straight games since Ron Johnson had a TD in four straight from Oct. 7-28, 2000.
Barber has rushed for 100 yards in back-to-back games for the first time in his career. Tonight was the fourth 100-yard rushing day for Barber in his career.
Freshman La urence Maroney's 47-yard touchdown run was the longest of his career and the longest by a Golden Gopher since Terry Jackson had a 56 yarder against Michigan State on Oct. 19, 2002.
Maroney posted his first career 100-yard rushing game with 132 yards on 16 carries. Barber and Maroney became the first Minnesota tandem to rush for over 100 yards since Te rry Jackson II and Tho mas Tapeh on Oct. 19, 2002 at Michigan State.
Minnesota has outscored its opponent by a 152-21 margin through the first three quarters.
The Golden Gophers have yet to allow a point in the third quarter this season.
Minnesota's 41 first-half points were the most since the Golden Gophers scored 41 points in the first half of a 55-7 win against Arkansas State on Sept. 30, 1995.
Senior El i Ward now has three career interceptions. All of them have come against Louisiana-Lafayette. He had a pair of picks in last year's contest at Lafayette, La.
Minnesota is 7-0 all-time against teams from the state of Louisiana. The Golden Gophers are 3-0 against Louisiana-Lafayette, 3-0 against Louisiana-Monroe and 1-0 against Tulane.
Wide receiver Aa ron Hosack has caught at least one pass in every game of his Golden Gopher career (17).
Asa d Abdul-Khaliq moved past Mike Hohensee into fourth place on the school's all-time passing yards list with 4,896 yards.
Abdul-Khaliq stands in fourth place in the Minnesota record book for career passing completions with 362. Sauter leads the list with 539 completions.
Abdul-Khaliq has scored a touchdown, either passing or rushing, in 29 of 37 career games.
Abdul-Khaliq has had at least one touchdown pass in 18 of the last 19 games.
Abdul-Khaliq added to his school record with his 43rd career touchdown pass.
Rh ys Lloyd's 54-yard field goal was the fifth-longest in school history. Two of his three field goals on the season have been from 50 or more yards out. He booted a 52-yarder against Troy State on Sept. 6.
Lloyd is the first Golden Gopher kicker to have two or more field goals from 50 yards or more in the same season since Adam Bailey in 1997.
With Lloyd's six extra points, Minnesota pushed its made PAT streak to 108. UM has not missed a PAT since Nov. 4, 2000, vs. Wisconsin.
Minnesota has made 20 consecutive field goals overall and 13 straight in the Metrodome, dating back to last season.
Senior Da rrell Reid set a new career-high with his fourth sack of the season. He now has seven for his career.
Ton y Patterson caught his first pass of the season in the third quarter.
Aa ron Hosack moved into a tie for 13th place on the school's all-time list with seven career touchdown receptions.
Back-up quarterback Ben ji Kamrath has appeared in all four games this season, the longest streak of his career.
Kamrath rushed for his first career touchdown in the second quarter.
Br andon Owens' 11 yard punt return was the first of his collegiate career.
Ky le McKenzie's fourth-quarter kickoff return was the first of his career.
Br yan Cupito attempted his first collegiate pass in the fourth quarter.
Minnesota has had a rushing and a passing touchdown in eight straight games.
Minnesota has gone 18 straight quarters without falling behind, dating back to the 2002 Music City Bowl against Arkansas.
The Golden Gophers are now 21-6 in non-conference games under Head Coach Glen Mason. Mason is 14-2 under Mason at home in non-conference contests.
Minnesota is 287-97-16 all-time in non-conference games.
Minnesota is 69-65-2 all-time at the Metrodome. The Golden Gophers are 38-12 against non-conference teams at the Dome. UM is 23-4 in the Dome vs. unranked non-conference teams over the past 13 seasons.
Minnesota has scored 40 or more points 20 times under Mason.
This is the first time since 1916 that the Golden Gophers have scored 40 or more points in four straight games.
Minnesota has won 15 straight and 19 of the past 20 when holding opponents to less than 300 yards. Mason's teams have won 13 straight games when leading after three quarters and 15 of the past 16 when leading at the half.
The Ragin' Cajuns are 0-9 in road games under second-year head coach Rickey Bustle. The school record for consecutive road losses to start a career is 10 by Jerry Baldwin.
This was Louisiana-Lafayette's first game on turf this season.
Wide receiver Fred Stamps has caught a pass in 36 straight games.
The Cajuns have yet to score in the first or third quarters this season.
Minnesota Head Coach Glen Mason
"I am very pleased with the victory tonight. Any time that you finish your non-conference schedule 4-0 you have to be happy about that. To be honest, I was very anxious and nervous about this game. This has been a funny year in college football and you never know what crazy thing is going to happen next. I watched this team (Louisiana-Lafayette) go toe-toe with a good South Carolina team there first game in front of 70,000 people and only lost 14-7. This team is better than people think."
"This week in practice I challenged our players to start fast and we really were able to accomplish that tonight. I felt that we played in our highest intensity level out of all of our games this season. It was good to end our non-conference on this note."
"We definitely got better this week. I would have been very disappointed with all the emphasis that we put in to play better than we did last week if we hadn't done that. With the Big Ten schedule starting next week, we can ill afford to not be at least close to clicking on all cylinders."
"Next week is going to be a very hostile environment. Over 110,000 people are going to make it very difficult on us. This is going to be the most talented team we've played so far this year."
Minnesota kicker/punter Rh ys Lloyd
On the upcoming Big Ten season?
"I think we feel comfortable. We still need to work on a few things in practice and take each game as it comes."
On the 54-yard field goal?
"I didn't catch it all, but it went through and that's all that matters."
On fitting into the team?
"I am comfortable. Coach asked me to come in and do a job, and that's what I'll do."
Minnesota free safety El i Ward
"It's definitely a big win for us leading us into the Big Ten season. We've worked hard, been successful and I think it will carry over.
On the Minnesota defense?
"We've set goals for ourselves and if we achieve those goals, I think we will definitely be ready."
Minnesota quarterback Ben ji Kamrath
"I feel really comfortable with the offense. This is my fourth year. Obviously with more experience, I am more comfortable. Asad is the starter right now; I'm just a backup. If something happens and an opportunity presents itself, I'll be ready."
Minnesota wide receiver Ja red Ellerson
"I'm ready for the Big Ten games, and we've been ready. We aren't worried about Penn State. We've been preparing since camp. But we know we couldn't look past these first four games."
"Offensively, I know we are ready and we are clicking on all cylinders. I'm really excited to see what we can do against Big Ten teams. I think we can perform just as we have been, if not better."