MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Rodney Smith ran for 103 yards to become Minnesota’s career leader in all-purpose yards, Seth Green had two touchdown runs and the No. 17 Golden Gophers routed Maryland 52-10 on Saturday.
Tanner Morgan was 12-of-21 passing for 138 yards and two touchdowns to help the Gophers (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten) reach 8-0 for the first time since 1941. Minnesota has the nation’s fourth-longest winning streak at 10, trailing Clemson, Ohio State and Appalachian State.
The Gophers were national champions when they started 8-0 in 1941. The 5-0 start in conference play is their first since 1961, the last year they earned a trip to the Rose Bowl.
Maryland (3-5, 1-4) lost for the fifth time in six games while again losing a starting quarterback. Tyrrell Pigrome was injured late in the first half. He was helped off the field favoring his left leg.
Coney Durr later intercepted Pigrome’s pass, on another tip by Demus, and returned it 72 yards for a touchdown.
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Maryland: For the second time this season against a ranked opponent, Maryland’s running game was shut down. The Terrapins entered the game third in the Big Ten in rushing averaging 207.1 yards per game. Anthony McFarland Jr. returned after missing a game with an ankle injury and had 38 yards on 10 carries. The road ahead isn’t any easier with two more ranked opponents the next two weeks.
Minnesota: The Gophers have taken care of their schedule to date. Now comes the challenge with home games against No. 6 Penn State and No. 13 Wisconsin and road games at No. 20 Iowa and Northwestern in the season’s final month. Minnesota has a two-game lead in the Big Ten’s West division and likely would appear in the conference championship game with a victory against the winner of next week’s Iowa at Wisconsin game.
Another small move up the poll is likely, particularly with No. 13 Wisconsin losing its second straight game. The Gophers last ranking as high as this season was in 2004 when they reached No. 13.
Maryland: Hosts No. 19 Michigan on Oct. 2.
Minnesota: After a week off, hosts Penn State on Nov. 9.