MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Everyone knows what a threat Laurence Maroney
is when he takes a hand off. On Saturday night, Maroney showed
Florida Atlantic that he's equally dangerous as a receiver.
Maroney rushed for 145 yards and two touchdowns, but also had
three catches for 55 yards and his first career receiving
touchdown, to lead Minnesota to a 46-7 romp over Florida Atlantic.
"I got hands, huh?" Maroney said. "It's something we
incorporated in ... try and throw a little pass at them. Let the
world know I have a little bit of hands."
The Gophers (3-0) rolled up 579 yards of offense and led 40-0 at
halftime. Their power running game and physical defense were simply
too much for a Florida Atlantic team in its second season in
"We got baptized by fire," Owls defensive end Josh Pinnick
said. "With what we did on defense, this one will be real hard to
Bryan Cupito was 10-for-17 for 230 yards and two touchdowns,
including a 56-yarder to Jared Ellerson in the second quarter.
After playing BCS schools Kansas and Oklahoma State tough the
first two weeks of the season, the Owls (0-3) managed just 246
yards of offense and were completely outclassed against the
Di Ivory Edgecomb scored the only touchdown for Florida
Atlantic, a 1-yard run in the third quarter. He finished with 24
yards on 10 carries.
Maroney needed little time to get going against the overmatched
Owls. After his first carry went for no gain, he took the second
play off left tackle for 22 yards. Two plays later, Maroney burst
off right end, zigged and zagged a few times and cruised,
untouched, for a 38-yard touchdown run.
Maroney was back at it on the next series, catching a dump-off
pass from Cupito and racing 37 yards for the score, thanks to a
fantastic block by receiver Ernie Wheelwright on free safety Greg
Joseph at the goal line.
"When Maroney rattled off those two touchdowns, we got unglued
a little bit," Pinnick said.
Gary Russell joined in late in the first quarter when he took
the handoff, ran over cornerback Willie Hughley, and raced 47 yards
for a touchdown and a 20-0 lead.
It was a long night for Hughley, who also got beat by Ellerson
on a post for a 56-yard touchdown in the second quarter that made
the score 33-0.
Maroney capped the half with a 10-yard run, giving the Gophers
points on all seven first-half possessions.
"They're just big boys who go jaw-to-jaw and tooth-to-tooth,"
Owls coach Howard Schnellenberger said. "That's probably the best
offensive line I've seen since Nebraska's in 1983."
Russell added another touchdown in the third, this one a
dazzling 30-yarder in which he broke four tackles and juked another
to get to the end zone. He finished with 116 yards on 11 carries.
"There were a lot of areas I saw improvement," Gophers coach
Glen Mason said. "In the first half, I thought we were pretty
It wasn't all good news for the Gophers. Jason Giannini missed
two extra points and has now missed five in the last two games, and
linebacker John Shevlin injured his left knee in the first quarter
and did not return.
Danny Embick was 11-of-24 for 131 yards and an interception for
the Owls, who have an extremely difficult nonconference schedule
that includes a date with Louisville in two weeks.
Schnellenberger has taken a similar approach to building the
program that he did to rebuilding Miami in the early 1980s -- play
"Our plan was to schedule just about anyone," Schnellenberger
said. "We accomplished a lot in all three games. It's given us an
example of what to work toward."
The Hurricanes became national champions in 1983 under
Schnellenberger, but the Gophers made it clear that the Owls still
have a long way to go.
"We feel that we are ready for our conference games," Edgecomb
said. "Going against more physical, higher-level teams, we feel we
are where we are supposed to be. ... We are a young team and it's a
big step going from I-AA to I-A."