Sept. 2, 2005
TULSA, Okla. (AP) - Laurence Maroney rushed for a career-high 203 yards and two long touchdown runs and Gary Russell added two late touchdown runs as Minnesota beat Tulsa 41-10 Thursday night.
Maroney, who Minnesota (1-0) has touted as a dark horse Heisman Trophy candidate, scorched Tulsa's defense twice early and the Golden Hurricane (0-1) never came back.
On the first play from scrimmage, Maroney took a handoff and darted around the left end and down the left sidelines for a 63-yard touchdown run.
He started the Golden Gophers' third drive by running around right end, stopping safety Bobby Klinck with a hesitation move and zooming across toward the left sideline as he crossed the goal-line for a 73-yard score to make it 17-0 for Minnesota late in the first quarter.
By that time, Maroney had 159 yards on only eight carries and Minnesota coach Glen Mason was smiling broadly and striding up and down the sidelines. Tulsa coach Steve Kragthorpe, his hands at his waist, was glaring mad.
Bryan Cupito added a 1-yard touchdown pass to Ernie Wheelwright just before halftime and finished with 235 yards on 14-for-25 passing for Minnesota.
Maroney was making his college debut when the Gophers walloped Tulsa 49-10 in the 2003 season opener in Minnesota. After learning that Tulsa's base defense includes only three linemen and three linebackers, Maroney was confident that he'd be able to run against the Golden Hurricane.
Tulsa opened the game with four defensive linemen, but Maroney was still able to score on his first carry. He surpassed his previous best rushing total by the end of the first half, and the Gophers led 24-3 at the half.
Jason Giannini, who kicked a 28-yard field goal in the first quarter, made a 23-yarder in the third quarter and Russell added touchdown runs of 2 and 25 yards for Minnesota.
Backup quarterback David Johnson threw for 172 yards on 20-for-30 passing with one touchdown -- a 4-yard pass that Ryan Bugg caught after it had been deflected by Jones in relief of injured starter Paul Smith.
Smith was sandwiched by two Minnesota defenders and appeared woozy as he walked off the field with help from trainers after a third-down scramble in the second quarter. He sat on the bench for a few minutes with the trainers before standing on the sidelines the rest of the game without his helmet.
He was 7-for-11 for 46 yards.