ATHENS, Ohio (AP) -- Minnesota didn't want to be added to the
list of early season college football upsets.
Marion Barber III ensured the Golden Gophers were safe for at
least one more week.
Barber rushed for 104 yards and four touchdowns Saturday as
Minnesota beat Ohio 42-20, dashing the Bobcats' hopes of a second
straight win over the Gophers in what was their first home game
against a Big Ten team.
The Bobcats, who play in the Mid-American Conference, stunned
the Gophers 23-17 at Minnesota in 2000. The MAC also has produced
its share of shockers this season.
Gophers coach Glen Mason warned his players to be ready.
"We talked all week long about playing teams from the
Mid-American Conference," Mason said. "It's been a crazy year in
college football already."
Barber made sure the Gophers had nothing to worry about against
He scored on his team's first two possessions and had two more
TD runs after the Bobcats (1-2) pulled within 21-14 in the second
quarter. Barber has scored eight touchdowns in Minnesota's 3-0
"I think I could have run a few of those in, but it took the
team to get him in that position," Mason said.
Ohio quarterback Fred Ray rushed for 93 yards and three
touchdowns. He also completed 14-of-22 passes for 123 yards and an
Asad Abdul-Khaliq was 9-of-14 for 146 yards with a touchdown and
an interception for Minnesota. He threw a 3-yard TD pass to Aaron
Hosack in the second and also scored on a 13-yard run in the
Barber ran for his third touchdown on the final play of the
first half to give the Gophers a 28-14 lead. Minnesota bypassed a
field goal attempt to give the ball to Barber, who scored on an
option toss from the 2-yard line on fourth down.
Barber's run capped an eight-play, 56-yard drive that followed
Ray's second touchdown -- an 8-yard run that cut the Gophers' lead
to seven with 6:06 left in the second quarter.
Ray drove the Bobcats to the Gophers' 14 late in the third
quarter, but the drive ended with an incomplete pass into the end
zone. Minnesota responded with a nine-play, 86-yard march that
ended in a 19-yard TD run by Barber that made it 35-14.
"When you play good teams you have to capitalize on every
opportunity you get," Ohio coach Brian Knorr said.
Ray blamed himself for the fourth-down incompletion.
"I had two reads on the route, and I was looking at both of
them," he said. "I saw the tight end come across, open up a
little bit, but it was my mistake on that. It should have been a
Barber capped Minnesota's opening nine-play, 80-yard drive with
a 3-yard TD run and scored from 4 yards out five plays later after
Ohio fumbled an option pitch on its first snap.
"It was pretty important to get us on the board quick, to say
that we could play with these guys," Barber said. "We just kind
of built up off that first score."
Minnesota hosts Louisiana-Lafayette next Saturday before
beginning Big Ten play Sept. 27 at Penn State.