Last season, Fresno State won 10 games. Last week, Fresno State scored 79 points. That alone left the Gophers with a tough task this Saturday at home as the Bulldogs came to TCF Bank Stadium looking to crack into the top 25 rankings.
P.J. Fleck and the Golden Gophers didn't overlook their opponent this week, something that we couldn't exactly say for recent Gophers teams of the past.
The Gophers came out strong and dominated the first half of play opening up a 10-0 lead in the opening half holding that high powered offense at bay. On offense, it was rookie quarterback Zach Annexstad who picked up the slack as senior running back Rodney Smith was lost to injury on the third play of the game. Annexstad moved the ball up and down the field in the first half and it was athlete Seth Green who came in again for the "wildcat formation" to pound it into the endzone for the score.
Again, 10-0 Gophers at halftime.
The third quarter was mostly forgettable for the Gophers. The offense stalled and couldn't move the ball and the team was slowly losing the field position game. A Tyler Johnson fumble at the Gophers 18-yard line flipped that field position quickly and a few plays later Fresno State was on the board.
Shortly after in the first part of the 4th quarter blown coverage for the Gophers left star wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson Jr. He busted loose, Mcmaryion found him and 45-yards later the Bulldogs had the lead at 14-13 with 8 minutes left in the game.
But the Gophers answered with a 74-yard, 10 play drive ending with another Seth Green touchdown, his fourth of the season to give them a 20-14 lead. Then it was a two-point conversion with Green still in the wildcat formation but this time he play-actioned and threw the ball for the conversion to put the Gophers up by 7, 21-14.
So we're down to the final drive. Fresno State moving the ball down the field and into the redzone and it appears as if they're about to score a touchdown to give them the game-tying extra point.
Only that's not what happened.
With just over a minute left on the clock, Fresno State got the Vikings secondary to bite on a hand off to the running back, but he had no intention of running and cocked his arm to throw the ball into the endzone where 6'5" tight end Jared Rice was wide open. That's when Antoine Winfield Jr. stepped in and made the play of the season to win the game.
Making up a good ten yards once the ball was in the air, Winfield closed the gap, found the ball in the air and jumped up to make a one-handed interception grab AND come down with his foot in the back of the endzone to give stop Fresno's drive, give the Gophers the ball and seal the 2-0 start for P.J. Fleck.