Sunday, September 14, 2003
Gophers are off and running with Marion Barber III
ATHENS, Ohio -- Marion Barber III took it in stride.
The sophomore running back eclipsed 1,000 career rushing yards
and tied a school record with four touchdowns in Minnesota's 42-20
victory against Ohio on Saturday, and all he did was shrug.
"I'm just happy that I'm out here with the team," he said.
Barber rarely shows any emotion, not even on a day when he
rushed for a game-high 104 yards on 18 carries and scored
touchdowns on runs of 3, 4, 2 and 19 yards, while Minnesota rolled
up 415 total yards.
Barber's four rushing touchdowns tied the school record shared
by four players (Curtis Wilson, Jim Carter, John King and Darrell
He now has eight rushing touchdowns in three games this season,
one more than he had in 11 games as a freshman. Minnesota's other
two co-No. 1 running backs, Thomas Tapeh and Terry Jackson II, have
accounted for two touchdowns combined.
Barber scored on his team's first two possessions and made his
third touchdown with one second left in the first half. Minnesota
was facing fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line. After a time-out,
Barber scored nearly untouched on an option toss thanks to a
mammoth Tapeh block.
"The decision to go for it on fourth down at the two-yard line,
it looked good because it works," Minnesota coach Glen Mason said.
"If it doesn't look good, what the heck?"
Barber shared the glory with Tapeh.
"As big as he is," Barber said of the 230-pound Tapeh, "he
opens the hole the way the offensive line does."
Mason said it is purely coincidence that Barber's name has been
called so many times in scoring situations. Even Barber seemed
perplexed by it.
"I don't know why that is," he said. "I'm just glad we came
up with the win."
Mason wasn't so happy with a Gopher defense that gave up 193
yards in the first half and missed an inordinate number of tackles
as it allowed the Bobcats to mount drives of 58, 60 and 77 yards.
The Gophers did their best to prepare for Ohio's
multidimensional flexbone offense during practice, but it was
nothing like seeing football's version of the Rubik's Cube in
person. A halftime pep and some adjustments turned Minnesota
"It's hard to play football without emotion," Mason said.
"It's impossible to play defense without it."
The Gophers got the message and held Ohio to 152 yards in the
"He told us we get only 12 opportunities to show people what we
work for all the time," linebacker Ben West said. "We had only
one more half to do it."
Ohio quarterback Fred Ray rushed for 93 yards and three
touchdowns. He also completed 14-of-22 passes for 123 yards and an
interception for the Bobcats (1-2).
Asad Abdul-Khaliq was 9-of-14 for 146 yards with a touchdown and
an interception for Minnesota (3-0). He threw a 3-yard TD pass to
Aaron Hosack in the second and also scored on a 13-yard run in the
Minnesota hosts Louisiana-Lafayette next Saturday before
beginning Big Ten play Sept. 27 at Penn State.