Coverage: ESPN Plus
8:10 PM ET, September 6, 2003
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Minnesota coach Glen Mason said he was nervous during the week about the Gophers' game against Troy State.
"I saw how Troy State played last week against Kansas State. I saw how Troy State played rough," he said.
About the only thing rough for Minnesota in the Gophers' 48-7 romp over the Trojans on Saturday night was the defense's failure to get a shutout for the second straight week.
Asad Abdul-Khaliq set a school record with his 41st career touchdown pass and also ran for a score to lead the Gophers. Minnesota's senior captain went 10-for-16 for 171 yards with an interception as the heavily-favored Gophers recovered from a sloppy start.
"I was pleased with the win tonight," Mason said. "I thought we dominated."
Abdul-Khaliq set the record on a 55-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Hosack in the third quarter to give the Gophers (2-0) a 34-0 lead. Hosack, who caught three balls for 105 yards, fought off defensive back Jermaine Miller while running down the right sideline to make the catch.
Heading into the game, Abdul-Khaliq said the record wasn't a concern of his. But afterward, he admitted that he preferred to set the record with an impressive throw like the one he made to Hosack.
"It was nice to get it done on a deep pass," Abdul-Khaliq said.
"You'd hate to do it on a dump pass in the end zone," he said with a laugh.
Facing an overmatched opponent for the second straight week, the Gophers again showed their rushing strength and outgained the Trojans 292-125 on the ground. Marion Barber III led Minnesota with 60 rushing yards and a touchdown.
"I think we took a step in the right direction today, but we can always improve," Barber said.
Freshman running back Laurence Maroney, who had 48 yards rushing, had an 88-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to make it 48-7. Maroney also scored his first rushing touchdown with a 10-yard run in the fourth that put the Gophers up 41-0.
"He's a freshman, but he doesn't run like it," Abdul-Khaliq said.
The Gophers have outscored their opponents 97-17 in their first two games.
"Whenever you're giving up, I think 400-some total yards on defense, that's not good," Trojans defensive end Demarcus Ware said. "That's an area where they were good. They have hard runners."
A week after falling 41-5 to Kansas State, the Trojans (0-2) put together one nice drive in the first quarter, but killed it with a fumble on the Minnesota 42.
"The Minnesota defense, our own miscues, the mismatches that existed, the missed assignments. It was all a culmination of things that really caused the game to get out of hand," Blakeney said.
Bearden's numbers, 5-for-14 for 35 yards, were the best of the three. Troy State's only points came on Leak's 1-yard run on fourth down with 6:41 left.
"You always hate to lose a shutout in the end," safety Eli Ward said.
The Gophers' offense surprisingly didn't score a touchdown until the end of the first quarter on Barber's 8-yard TD run. After falling flat on their first two drives, Abdul-Khaliq found Hosack for a 38-yard gain down the left side to the Trojans' 8.
That set up Barber's fourth touchdown of the season to put Minnesota up 10-0.
Rhys Lloyd, who barely became eligible for last week's game against Tulsa, kicked a 26-yard field goal, his second of the game, to give the Gophers a 13-0 lead with 10:01 remaining. Lloyd also had a 52-yard field goal in the first quarter.
Minnesota tacked on another score late in the first half when Abdul-Khaliq scored on an 8-yard touchdown run. Displaying his agility, Abdul-Khaliq rolled right before reversing his field and dodging defenders into the end zone.
The Gophers opened the second half with a 65-yard scoring drive that was capped off by Thomas Tapeh's 15-yard run to make it 27-0.
Minnesota started off sloppy on offense, drawing false start penalties on the first two plays of its opening series.
The Gophers then showcased their running abilities by marching from their own 19 to the Trojans' 21. But Abdul-Khaliq was intercepted by Derrick Ansley, who had two picks on the night, in the end zone.