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Maroon tops Gold in Gophers Spring Game

April 13, 2019 04:01 PM

The University of Minnesota football team hosted the annual Spring Game where in an offensive showcase, Maroon topped Gold 38-20 to win Goldy's Cup.

"I'm really pleased with our players and really pleased with their efforts," head coach PJ Fleck said. "It's the only time I really go home happy because it's such a mix of really good players."

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Wide receiver Rashod Bateman and linebacker Thomas Rush shared the second-ever Sid Hartman MVP of the Spring Game. Bateman finished with six catches for 164 yards, including a long of 62 yards while Rush had four tackles, one tackle for a loss, and a 71-yard pick-six in the final minute of the first half.

The game was played with four standard 15-minute quarters but featured a running clock.  

After a six-play, 80-yard drive, tight end Bryce Witham got the scoring started for the Maroon squad with a 31-yard reception from Zack Annexstad. Annexstad would finish the day 9-for-15 for 191 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Just five minutes later, offensive lineman Daniel Faalele got the spotlight. Faalele, a 400-pound Melbourne, Australia, native, lined up in the backfield and bowled over several defenders for a six-yard touchdown.

After being mobbed by Maroon teammates, Faalele was congratulated by coach Fleck on the field and ran over to the opposite sideline to deliver his touchdown ball to family.

"I wanted the players to have fun," Fleck said after the game. "Football is a fun game and sometimes we take that word 'fun' out of it. I'm not sure why. I want our players at the University of Minnesota to always have fun and I want them to approach it in a very unique way. If we're not having fun we're not playing football the right way in my opinion, not at the University of Minnesota in our culture."

The Gold team got on the board in the second quarter with a spectacular toe-tapping grab from Chris Autman-Bell for a 12-yard grab from Tanner Morgan. Initially called incomplete, the play was reviewed by Fleck and the call was revered.

In the second half Gold outscored Maroon 13-10, but it wasn't enough to close the gap. First, Gold turned a six-play, 54-yard drive into a 19-yard touchdown pass from Morgan to tight end Brevyn Spann-Ford. In the final score of the game, Spann-Ford caught a touchdown from freshman Cole Kramer.

After playing the majority of the game, both Annexstad and Morgan were substituted out for Jacob Clark and Kramer respectively. Clark finished the day 2-for-2 with 24 yards and a touchdown. Clark finished his day 4-for-8 with 81 yards gained through the air.

Defensive back Jordan Howden also had a standout Spring Game with a game-high nine tackles to go alongside an interception and a forced fumble.

In terms of team statistics, Maroon blew away the Gold team with 271 more total yards and 162 more rushing yards. While Gold was unable to convert on seven third down attempts, Maroon was able to convert twice on third down and one more time on fourth down. 

Special teams players such as punter Jacob Herbers got plenty of action throughout the game. Herbers punted eight times with a long of 49 and an average of 41.13 yards. Kicker Brock Walker nailed the Gophers lone field goal attempt on the day and as a group the kickers went 7-for-8. 

Gopher football will finish Spring practices in the following weeks with their season set to open on August 29 against South Dakota State University at TCF Bank Stadium.  
 

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University of Minnesota/Gophersports.com

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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