Updated: November 07, 2020 08:46 PM
Created: November 07, 2020 06:46 PM
Mohamed Ibrahim rushed for four touchdowns and Tanner Morgan threw for one more and Minnesota beat depleted Illinois 41-14 on Saturday.
Ibrahim now has back-to-back games in which he has scored four rushing touchdowns for Minnesota (1-2, 1-2 Big Ten).
Illinois (0-3, 0-3) had 12 players out due to COVID-19 protocols and was down to fourth-string QB Coran Taylor. Starter Brandon Peters and backup Isaiah Washington are out, and third-string QB Matt Robinson remains unavailable after suffering a leg injury early in the Purdue game last week.
Taylor wasn’t awful, going 6 of 17 through the air for a touchdown and no interceptions. He suffered what appeared to be a hand injury on his throwing arm early in the second half but remained in the game despite obvious throwing difficulties.
One bright spot for Illinois was often-injured running back Mike Epstein, who rushed for 108 yards on 11 carries with one touchdown.
Illinois safety Derrick Smith was ejected in the second quarter due to a targeting penalty out of bounds, further depleting an Illini secondary already without starters Nate Hobbs and Marquez Beason, both unable to play due to COVID-19 protocols.
Morgan and company took advantage. Minnesota outgained Illinois 556 to 287 yards in total offense and led 28-7 at half.
The Illini’s only score before intermission came on a 1-yard run by Epstein, which was set up by his 63-yard run to the Gophers' 9-yard line.
Morgan and Ibrahim had their way against a depleted Illinois defense and an impotent offense led by an injured fourth-string quarterback. This game was over by the end of the first quarter.
Minnesota has an opportunity to even its Big Ten record on Friday night when it hosts Iowa, which upped its record to 1-2 after beating Michigan State 49-7 on Saturday.
Illinois travels to Rutgers, which plays powerhouse Ohio State Saturday night, on Nov. 14.
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