As the undefeated Minnesota Gophers entered the third game of their 2019 season there was an uneasy confidence as they met the Georgia Southern. The Gophers were favorites coming into the game despite string in both non-conference victories this year.
The Gophers came out and forced an Eagles three and out but promptly turned the ball over 17 seconds (two plays) later on an interception, silencing the stadium. The Eagles took one play to score, a 21 yard run that left the stadium stunned.
The Gopher faithful came to life less than a minute later when, on the second play of the drive, quarterback Tanner Morgan hit Tyler Johnson for a 73 yard touchdown to tie the game 7-7 with 12:25 left in the first quarter.
Minnesota regained the possession after a Georgia Southern field goal down 10-7 with just under six minutes left in the first quarter. The team put together an 11 play, 75 yard touchdown drive that ended in another Tyler Johnson touchdown. Minnesota would add another touchdown, a Seth Green quarterback sneak in the second quarter to go up 21-10 with 7:07 left in the half.
This is when the wheels started to come off. Georgia Southern drove 47 yards resulting in a Tyler Bass field goal, bringing the score to 21-13. Georgia Southern would add a touchdown with quarterback J Tomlin 12 yard sneak, bringing the score to within one with Minnesota leading 21-20 at the half.
Halftime had a performance featured the University of Minnesota Dance Team and marching band joined by high school teams from around the state.
The third quarter was scoreless by both teams. Minnesota scored 17 seconds into the fourth quarter when Bryce Williams reached the end zone, capping an 8 drive, 49 drive to go up by eight points, 28-20.
A pair of Gopher errors gave Georgia Southern 14 points to put the score at 32-28, silencing again the crowd with 3:47 left. The first was a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown. The second saw Tanner Morgan sacked for a 9 yard loss and fumble, picked up by Rashad Byrd.
The anxiety was high in the stadium as the Gophers took over possession with under four minutes left in the game. Tanner Morgan led the team down the field 75 yards over 3:34 minutes to score the go-ahead points with 13 seconds left in the game. Morgan hit Tyler Johnson yet again in the end zone, this time on a beautifully executed fade route, the third time in the game that Morgan and Johnson connected in the end zone.
For Tyler Johnson, it was the third game in his college career with three or more touchdowns. Tanner Morgan ended the game completing 19-of-31 passes for 289 yards and three touchdowns.
Minnesota will enjoy a bye-week next Saturday before traveling to Purdue to start their Big Ten schedule.