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Minnesota opens with 38-0 make an impression on Kill, New Mexico State

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Jerry Kills unexpected go back to Minnesota along with his rebuilding team was a predictably emotional night for New Mexico States new coach.

After some apparent reconciliation with P.J. Fleck, Kill was presented with an up-close reminder a Gophers program he never wished to leave continues to be in very good shape.

Mo Ibrahim rushed for 132 yards and two touchdowns for Minnesota in his seamless comeback from the season-ending injury in the opener this past year, and Fleck and the Gophers overwhelmed the Aggies 38-0 on Thursday night to spoil a homecoming of sorts for Kill.

I assume I go on it as a blessing that I acquired the opportunity another, said Kill, who had a cordial pregame conversation with Fleck, his former assistant at Northern Illinois of whom hed been critical previously.

Fleck and Kill shared a protracted postgame handshake, too, after Minnesota outgained New Mexico State an impressive 485-91 altogether yardage. Fleck said he approached Kill by thanking him for his effect on his career.

I appreciate Jerrys passion, because I understand how lousy Jerry loves this place, Fleck said. The thing Ill say is, So do I. I understand how he feels, because I wish to be here. Its an extremely special spot to me, and I couldnt imagine not being here.

Ibrahim, who tore his Achilles in losing to Ohio State last Sept. 2, started his sixth college season however you like. He bounced off and bashed in to the Aggies over 21 carries, extending his school-record streak of 100-plus yards to 10 straight games and getting into a tie with Marion Barber III for second invest Gophers history with 35 career touchdowns.

The return of Kill was a lot more remarkable in Minnesota, where he inherited a bottomed-out program in 2011 and won the Big Ten Coach of the entire year award in 2014 before epilepsy-related health issues forced him to retire midway through the 2015 season.

We gave everything we’d and much more, Kill said. I crashed and burned, and thats my fault. But Im happy that Coach has had it and continued to create and taken it to another level.

The 61-year-old Kill didnt find yourself retiring, employed in various capacities at five different schools before taking the work this year at independent New Mexico State by way of a reference to athletic director Mario Moccia. The Aggies, who will join Conference USA next year, were 2-10 last season and finished with only 1 winning record (2017) during the past 20 years.

Kill once vowed never to again set foot on Minnesotas campus following the firing of his defensive coordinator and successor as head coach, Tracy Claeys. Kill also ripped Fleck in a 2019 radio interview for what he felt was a disrespectful description of hawaii Kill and Claeys left this program in when Fleck earned his distinctly different brand in 2017.

Tanner Morgan, a different one of the four sixth-year standouts who returned for just one more college try with the Gophers following a 9-4 finish in 2021, had 174 yards on 13-for-19 passing and rushed for just two touchdowns.

Trey Potts, who like Ibrahim returned from the season-ending 2021 injury, had 17 carries for 89 yards and a score. Potts was seriously hurt at Purdue on Oct. 2 and spent six days in a hospital before being cleared to visit back again to Minnesota. The Gophers never disclosed the type of this injury.

Its first of all an essential lesson for everyone to understand from those two guys about how exactly to respond from two very adverse situations, Morgan said.

Diego Pavia, who threw three interceptions and lost a fumble in New Mexico States opening loss to Nevada, got another start and completed 2 of 5 passes for 10 yards.

Freshman Gavin Frakes entered in the next quarter and finished 2 of 7 for 43 yards. He was intercepted ultimately zone in the fourth quarter by Terell Smith, ending the only real drive longer than 16 yards for the Aggies.

STRANGE SYMMETRY

Kills first home game with Minnesota on Sept. 10, 2011, was against the one and only New Mexico State. The Aggies held to beat the Gophers 28-21 in a finish marred by way of a frightening seizure Kill suffered on the sideline on a steamy afternoon with a kickoff temperature of 88 degrees.

Minnesota won a rematch on the highway in 2013 and beat New Mexico State again in 2018. That game which one were scheduled in 2009 as a two-game contract that guaranteed a complete of $1.05 million to the Aggies.

THE TAKEAWAY

New Mexico State: Unhappy about hitting the street for a large Ten foe just five days following the first game, Kill told Moccia he only wants one payout game per season later on. The Aggies also play at Wisconsin and Missouri this season. They ran only 33 plays, a single-game program record for the fewest against a Minnesota defense.

Minnesota: The run-pass balance the Gophers are striving for behind the direction of offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca, who returned after two seasons away, will need to wait another week. They ran the ball 57 times, including on 12 of 13 plays throughout a touchdown drive that took 12: 58 off the clock in to the second quarter.

UP NEXT

New Mexico State plays at UTEP on Sept. 10.

Minnesota hosts Western Illinois on Sept. 10.

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More AP college football coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25 Join the APs college football newsletter: https://apnews.com/cfbtop25.

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