MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Marion Barber III ran for three touchdowns
and Asad Abdul-Khaliq threw for two other scores to lead Minnesota
to a 49-10 season-opening win over Tulsa on Saturday night.
With Barber back in the lineup after receiving a medical
redshirt last year, the Gophers got to showcase their trio of
talented running backs and dominated the Golden Hurricane, spoiling
the debut of Tulsa coach Steve Kragthorpe.
Thomas Tapeh led the Gophers with 75 rushing yards; Barber had
48; and Terry Jackson II, who had more than 1,000 yards rushing
last season, finished with 59 and a touchdown.
After an impressive freshman season, Barber was expected to lead
the backfield last year but was hobbled by a hamstring injury early
in the season and never recovered. But he looked like his old self
on Saturday with his bursts of speed and sharp cuts.
Abdul-Khaliq, who went 13-for-17 for 204 yards, had an unusual
48-yard TD pass to Jared Ellerson with 10 seconds left in the first
Abdul-Khaliq threw the ball into the left corner of the end
zone. Aaron Hosack -- who also had a TD reception in the second
quarter -- and Tulsa cornerback Oliver Fletcher went for the ball,
which tipped out of Hosack's hands. Ellerson was waiting behind
Hosack and made the catch to put the Gophers ahead 35-0 at
Ellerson caught seven passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns,
the most yards receiving by a Gopher since Ron Johnson had 181
against Iowa in 2001. He caught his second touchdown from Benji
It was a rough night for Tulsa quarterback James Kilian, who
inherited the starting job when Tyler Gooch transferred to Oklahoma
to pursue a baseball career this summer. Kilian went 18-for-32 for
Eric Richardson, Tulsa's leading rusher for the past two
seasons, was held to 28 yards on the ground and caught three passes
The Hurricane's opening drive started off promising. Kilian and
Richardson led Tulsa from its own 36 to the Minnesota 13, but Brad
DeVault missed a 31-yard field goal attempt.
Barber capped off the ensuing 80-yard drive with a one-yard leap
into the end zone to give Minnesota a 7-0 lead late in the first
Barber scored again on Minnesota's next drive, taking
Abdul-Khaliq's pitch and streaking in from the left side for a
12-yard score. His third touchdown came on a 4-yard run to make it
Tulsa avoided the shutout on Kilian's 1-yard TD run on fourth
down early in the fourth quarter.