Scores

Final

Florida Atl 3

(1-3, 0-3 away)

Minnesota 37

(4-0, 3-0 home)

12:00 PM ET, September 20, 2008

The Metrodome, MINNEAPOLIS, MN

1 2 3 4 T
FAU 0 3 0 03
MINN 10 6 7 1437

Top Performers

Passing: A. Weber (MINN) - 235 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: D. Eskridge (SJSU) - 19 CAR, 78 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: E. Decker (MINN) - 7 REC, 122 YDS, 1 TD

Minnesota stays perfect with rout of Florida Atlantic

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- Four interceptions by the vastly improved Minnesota defense, including a 50-yard return for a touchdown by Simoni Lawrence, helped the Gophers top Florida Atlantic 37-3 on Saturday and take an unbeaten record into the Big Ten season.

Rusty Smith was picked off once in each quarter after dismantling Minnesota last year for 463 yards and five touchdowns. After giving the ball away seven times in last season's loss to Florida Atlantic, the Gophers (4-0) have a 13-2 advantage in turnovers this year.

The turnaround under new defensive coordinator Ted Roof and a couple of key junior-college transfers has been remarkable, even against lesser nonconference competition. Last season, while going 1-11, they couldn't even handle that. The last time Minnesota held an opponent to so few points was two years ago in a 62-0 victory over Temple.

Adam Weber threw his first interception of the season, in the end zone in the second quarter, but finished 19-for-24 for 235 yards and a 31-yard touchdown to Eric Decker -- who caught seven passes for 122 yards. DeLeon Eskridge rushed for 78 yards and two scores and Shady Salamon also had a short TD run for the Gophers, who play at Ohio State next week.

The Gophers are in their final season at the Metrodome, months from moving to their under-construction on-campus stadium in 2009. The Owls (1-3) were glad to be playing inside after losing 17-0 in monsoon-like weather at Michigan State last week.

Smith lost a fumble and completed only eight of his 34 passes for 143 yards in that game, but improved conditions didn't give him or his receivers much of a lift.

Lester Jean dropped a long one late in the first quarter, and Chris Bonner let a touchdown slip out of his fingers in the second after he beat Kyle Theret to the end zone.

After setting the Florida Atlantic career record with 32 scoring passes last season, Smith has struggled in three losses to BCS teams. He finished 17-for-34 for 153 yards, and was picked off by Traye Simmons, Lee Campbell, Theret and then Lawrence -- who also had a sack. In 28 previous starts, Smith threw only 18 interceptions and no more than two in one game.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
FAU
MINN
1st Downs1824
Total Yards276441
Passing175235
Rushing101206
Penalties6-349-75
3rd Down Conversions3-143-7
4th Down Conversions0-20-0
Turnovers41
Possession26:4533:15

Passing Leaders

Florida AtlanticC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Smith17/341534.504
MinnesotaC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Weber19/242359.811

Rushing Leaders

Florida AtlanticCARYDSAVGTDLG
Pierre10707.0021
Rose3175.7015
MinnesotaCARYDSAVGTDLG
Eskridge19784.1213
Salamon7507.1113

Receiving Leaders

Florida AtlanticRECYDSAVGTDLG
Jean66110.2012
Gent45012.5017
MinnesotaRECYDSAVGTDLG
Decker712217.4131
Eskridge66110.2023

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERFAUMINN
TD12:29Shady Salamon 3 Yd Run (Joel Monroe Kick) 07
FG08:27Joel Monroe 34 Yd 010
SECOND QUARTERFAUMINN
FG14:51Warley Leroy 35 Yd 310
TD04:58Eric Decker 31 Yd Pass From Adam Weber (Pat Failed) 316
THIRD QUARTERFAUMINN
TD05:32Deleon Eskridge 1 Yd Run (Joel Monroe Kick) 323
FOURTH QUARTERFAUMINN
TD12:37Deleon Eskridge 1 Yd Run (Joel Monroe Kick) 330
TD09:47Simoni Lawrence 50 Yd Interception Return (Joel Monroe Kick) 337