Gophers host Maryland Saturday, seeking third straight win and 5-2 start

The Gophers' defense sacked Aiden O'Connell four times and forced two turnovers in Saturday's 20-13 win at Purdue. ((credit: University of Minnesota Athletics))

The University of Minnesota football team hosts Maryland Saturday afternoon at Huntington Bank Stadium, looking for its third straight win and to improve to 5-2 on the season.

The Gophers are coming off a 30-23 win over Nebraska last week. Tanner Morgan threw a pair of first half touchdowns to Mike Brown-Stephens and Chris Autman-Bell, and Bryce Williams ran for 127 yards and a 56-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Minnesota’s defense stepped up to the challenge in the second half, limiting Adrian Martinez to -17 rushing yards on the day and making four straight stops with a 21-16 lead.

The Terrapins are coming off their bye week and have lost two straight games, 51-14 to Iowa and 66-17 at Ohio State, since a 4-0 start.

The Gophers’ defense will be tasked with containing Taulia Tagovailoa, who led Maryland with 450 total yards and five total touchdowns in last year’s 45-44 win over Minnesota in overtime at College Park. The Terrapins finished the game with 675 yards of total offense.

Maryland will be without its top two receivers Saturday due to injuries.

The Gophers will be without receiver Daniel Jackson for a second straight week. Jackson was in street clothes when the team came out for warm-ups about an hour before kickoff. He also missed the win over Nebraska, and PJ Fleck said Monday he was questionable for Saturday’s game. Without him, Autman-Bell had 11 catches for 103 yards and a touchdown, Brown-Stephens had three catches for 58 yards and a score and Brevyn Spann-Ford caught a touchdown from Cole Kramer.

Saturday could be a big opportunity for the Gophers’ rushing attack. The Terrapins are allowing about 29 points per game, and are ninth in rushing defense at 126 yards per game.

Minnesota enters Saturday’s game second in the Big Ten West behind Iowa, and can pull into a tie for the lead with a win over the Terrapins. The Hawkeyes are on a bye this week, and Wisconsin is at Purdue after the Boilermakers beat the Hawkeyes in Iowa City last week.

Kickoff between the Gophers and Terrapins is set for 2:30 p.m. at Huntington Bank Stadium.