DETROIT (AP) — Mohamed Ibrahim ran for career-high 224 yards and two touchdowns, leading Minnesota to a 34-10 victory over Georgia Tech on Wednesday night in the Quick Lane Bowl.
The Golden Gophers (7-6) won three of their last four games, and Ibrahim had a lot to do with that. The redshirt freshman running back had 121 yards rushing in a win at Wisconsin that made Minnesota bowl eligible and ran for 155 yards last month in a victory over Purdue.
The Yellow Jackets (7-6) did not have the speed or strength to slow down Ibrahim and their triple-option offense was stunted in coach Paul Johnson’s finale .
The Gophers limited Georgia Tech to 206 yards on the ground after it led the nation with 335 yards rushing per game.
Minnesota led 13-0 early in the second quarter after Tanner Morgan threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Johnson in the first quarter and Emmit Carpenter made two field goals. Ibrahim’s 3-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter made it 20-3.
The Yellow Jackets responded with Nathan Cottrell’s 20-yard touchdown run, but their defense allowed Ibrahim to score again on the ensuing drive. Morgan connected with Johnson on a 30-yard touchdown strike with 6:19 left, giving the Gophers a 24-point cushion.
Minnesota: Ibrahim has the potential to be one of the top players on offense in the Big Ten next season. He runs with a mix of speed and power, running past defenders or punishing them by lowering his shoulder.
Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets were in trouble when they fell behind because they don’t pass much, making it tough to come back. They averaged fewer than 10 passes during the regular season and it was clear both of their quarterbacks were not comfortable dropping back to throw.
Johnson set single-season school record with 1,169 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns. He finished the season with 78 catches, six short of another Minnesota record.
Georgia Tech suspended linebacker Charlie Thomas from the Quick Lane Bowl for an undisclosed violation of team rules.
Minnesota linebacker Kamal Martin did not play for reasons coach P.J. Fleck was expected to address after the game. The Gophers were also without senior linebacker Blake Cashman, who announced his intention to skip the bowl game to focus on preparing for the NFL draft.
Minnesota: The Gophers had a nation-high 52 percent of their roster filled by freshmen, giving them a lot of hope for next season when they open at home Aug. 29 against South Dakota State.
Georgia Tech: It will be challenging for Geoff Collins to win in his coaching debut with the Yellow Jackets. They play Aug. 22 at Clemson in the first game on the ACC Network. The former Temple coach, who is from Georgia, will be installing a new offense without a handful of starters on offense and the defense is losing eight starters.