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Johnson lifts Minnesota late to beat Georgia Southern 35-32

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) This Minnesota team has made falling behind in the fourth quarter a troubling habit.

The Gophers have also managed to turn those deficits into quite the stockpile of resiliency.

Tyler Johnson caught three touchdown passes from Tanner Morgan, including the go-ahead score with 13 seconds left on Saturday to give Minnesota yet another tense victory, a 35-32 decision despite fourth quarter miscues that gave Georgia Southern two long touchdowns.

''This team has some of the most heart I've ever seen in my entire life,'' coach P.J. Fleck said.

Last week, Morgan found Chris Autman-Bell on fourth down for the tying 20-yard touchdown with 46 seconds left in regulation, before the Gophers beat Fresno State 38-35 in two overtimes. They trailed South Dakota State by one point midway through the fourth quarter, before pulling out a 28-21 victory.

Johnson, the star senior who deferred the NFL draft to stick with his hometown school for one more year, had 10 receptions for 140 yards in his third career three-touchdown game. On second-and-goal, Morgan floated a slightly underthrown pass to the corner of the end zone for a fade route. Johnson ran to grab it in front of Monquavion Brinson.

''Tyler cooked his guy,'' Morgan said, ''and made an elite play.''

The last-ditch drive netted 75 yards on 13 plays in 3:34, but a holding penalty and a sack pushed the Gophers back to their 6-yard line. Morgan hit Demetrius Douglas for 21 yards on third-and-29 and found him again on fourth down to keep the rally alive. Johnson and Rashod Bateman followed with two first-down catches apiece, before the winning score.

''We never had any doubt,'' Johnson said. ''We train for any situation that can possibly come up.''

With 6:05 remaining, Traver Vliem blocked Michael Lantz's 36-yard field goal attempt before Brinson grabbed it and weaved around the field for a 77-yard touchdown. After a sideline interference penalty by the Eagles pushed the 2-point conversion play back to the 18-yard line, Justin Tomlin's pass was incomplete, keeping the Gophers in front 28-26.

On the next possession, Rashad Byrd hit Morgan as he cocked his arm for a third down throw, leaped in the air to grab the ball, and ran 44 yards for the go-ahead score. The trick-play 2-point pass to left tackle Jarrod Leeds was completed, but Leeds was short of the goal line.

The Gophers (3-0) outgained the Eagles (1-2) in total yardage 382-198 and stretched the longest nonconference winning streak in the FBS to 18 straight games.

Morgan finished 19 for 31 for 289 yards under frequent pressure, but he threw an interception on Minnesota's first drive that gave Georgia Southern the ball. Logan Wright scored on a 21-yard run on the ensuing play.

CLOSE, BUT ...

Tomlin, a freshman who took over for Shai Werts in the opening loss at LSU when the junior hurt his shoulder, went 5 for 9 for 75 yards and ran 14 times for 57 yards in the triple option scheme the Eagles have used for years. Tomlin scored on a 12-yard scamper with 27 seconds left before halftime, when he appeared to be fumbling the ball as he crossed the pylon and tumbled out of bounds, but no replay review was ordered.

Quin Williams had two of Georgia Southern's five sacks that totaled 45 lost yards for the Gophers, and Tyler Bass, who's on the Lou Groza Award watch list, made field goals from 25 and 45 yards.

''They hurt right now, and I hurt for them,'' Eagles coach Chad Lunsford said. ''I love these dudes. They've been through a lot, and they deserved this one.''

BANGED-UP BACKFIELD

Even excluding the sacks, the Gophers netted only 138 rushing yards on 43 attempts as the Eagles mostly smothered the inside zone plays preferred by Fleck and offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca. The Gophers were essentially down to their fifth-string tailback, though, in Bryce Williams, who scored on a short run early in the fourth quarter. Rodney Smith (oblique) and Cam Wiley (concussion) were injured during the game, and Mohamed Ibrahim (leg) was hurt during the week in practice. Shannon Brooks (knee) has yet to be cleared for action. Fleck said none of the injuries were serious.

THE TAKEAWAY

Georgia Southern: The Eagles, who won six FCS national titles before moving up in 2014, almost pulled off the program's second win over a Power 5 team. They won 26-20 at Florida in 2013. This performance, though plagued with self-inflicted setbacks like two lost fumbles by the offense and two penalties on the defense for 12 men on the field, ought to provide confidence for conference play and perhaps even for future visits to Big Ten foes Nebraska (2022) and Wisconsin (2023).

''One game doesn't define us,'' Byrd said. ''We've just got to go back to work.''

Minnesota: None of their nonconference foes were big-time programs. All three wins were too close for comfort. Still, those teams went a combined 32-8 last season, even if they were in lower-tier leagues. There's a valuable trait to be developed in learning how to win when trailing in the closing minutes.

''All three of those teams circled us as their Super Bowl,'' Fleck said.

UP NEXT

Georgia Southern: The Eagles have a week off before opening Sun Belt play at home on Sept. 28 against Louisiana-Lafayette, which was picked by conference coaches in the preseason poll to win the West Division. The Ragin' Cajuns played in the Sun Belt championship game last year, losing to Appalachian State.

Minnesota: The Gophers get next weekend off, before playing their Big Ten opener at Purdue on Sept. 28. They've beaten the Boilermakers in five of the last six matchups, with the lone loss coming on the road in 2017, a 31-17 defeat. The Gophers won 41-10 at home last year.

---

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Copyright 2019 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

Scoring Summary
4th Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 0:13
38-M.Lantz extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
32
35
Touchdown 0:17
2-T.Morgan complete to 6-T.Johnson. 6-T.Johnson runs 2 yards for a touchdown. Penalty on GSO 4-M.Brinson Pass interference declined.
17
plays
105
yds
03:30
pos
32
34
Missed Two Point Conversion 3:47
17-J.Tomlin complete to 70-J.Leeds. 70-J.Leeds to MIN 1 for 1 yard.
plays
yds
pos
32
28
Touchdown 4:05
2-T.Morgan sacked at MIN 44 for -9 yards FUMBLES (45-R.Byrd). 45-R.Byrd runs 44 yards for a touchdown.
5
plays
19
yds
02:00
pos
32
28
Missed Two Point Conversion 6:05
17-J.Tomlin incomplete. Intended for 15-J.King.
plays
yds
pos
26
28
Touchdown 6:25
38-M.Lantz 36 yards Field Goal is No Good. blocked by 36-R.Ellis. 4-M.Brinson runs 77 yards for a touchdown.
1
plays
18
yds
0:00
pos
26
28
Point After TD 14:43
38-M.Lantz extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
20
28
Touchdown 14:54
21-B.Williams runs 2 yards for a touchdown.
10
plays
45
yds
03:30
pos
20
27
3rd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
2nd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 0:27
16-T.Bass extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
20
21
Touchdown 0:35
17-J.Tomlin runs 12 yards for a touchdown.
5
plays
34
yds
01:45
pos
19
21
Field Goal 4:08
16-T.Bass 45 yards Field Goal is Good.
7
plays
37
yds
02:59
pos
13
21
Point After TD 7:07
38-M.Lantz extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
10
21
Touchdown 7:14
17-S.Green runs 4 yards for a touchdown.
5
plays
24
yds
02:48
pos
10
20
1st Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 0:14
38-M.Lantz extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
10
14
Touchdown 0:14
2-T.Morgan complete to 6-T.Johnson. 6-T.Johnson runs 7 yards for a touchdown.
13
plays
75
yds
05:45
pos
10
13
Field Goal 6:36
16-T.Bass 25 yards Field Goal is Good.
9
plays
67
yds
05:01
pos
10
7
Point After TD 11:37
38-M.Lantz extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
7
7
Touchdown 11:49
2-T.Morgan complete to 6-T.Johnson. 6-T.Johnson runs 73 yards for a touchdown.
2
plays
75
yds
00:36
pos
7
6
Point After TD 12:25
16-T.Bass extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
7
0
Touchdown 12:32
2-L.Wright runs 21 yards for a touchdown.
1
plays
21
yds
00:12
pos
6
0
Team Stats
1st Downs 12 22
Rushing 8 9
Passing 3 11
Penalty 1 2
3rd Down Conv 2-9 6-13
4th Down Conv 0-0 1-2
Total Net Yards 196 346
Total Plays 42 79
Avg Gain 4.7 4.4
Net Yards Rushing 123 93
Rush Attempts 33 48
Avg Rush Yards 3.7 1.9
Net Yards Passing 73 253
Comp. - Att. 5-9 19-31
Yards Per Pass 8.1 8.2
Sacked - Yards Lost 1-2 4-36
Penalties - Yards 9-64 4-45
Touchdowns 3 5
Rushing TDs 2 2
Passing TDs 0 3
Other 1 0
Turnovers 2 2
Fumbles - Lost 3-2 2-1
Int. Thrown 0 1
Punts - Avg 4-42.3 3-46.0
Return Yards 72 30
Punts - Returns 0-0 1-19
Kickoffs - Returns 2-39 1-11
Int. - Returns 1-33 0-0
Kicking 4/4 5/6
Extra Points 2/2 5/5
Field Goals 2/2 0/1
Safeties 0 0
1234T
Ga. Southern 1-2 101001232
Minnesota 3-0 14701435
73 PASS YDS 253
123 RUSH YDS 93
196 TOTAL YDS 346
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT
J. Tomlin 17 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
55.6% 75 0 0 125.6
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
55.6% 75 0 0 125.6
J. Tomlin 5/9 75 0 0
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
J. Tomlin 17 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
14 57 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
14 57 1
J. Tomlin 14 57 1 12
J. King 15 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
7 35 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
7 35 0
J. King 7 35 0 11
L. Wright 2 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
6 35 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
6 35 1
L. Wright 6 35 1 21
M. LaRoche 5 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
5 3 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
5 3 0
M. LaRoche 5 3 0 3
S. Werts 1 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 -2 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
1 -2 0
S. Werts 1 -2 0 -2
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
K. Hood 4 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 39 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
1 39 0
K. Hood 1 39 0 39
M. Michaud 23 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 27 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
2 27 0
M. Michaud 2 27 0 16
L. Wright 2 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 8 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
1 8 0
L. Wright 1 8 0 8
C. Brown 48 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 1 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
1 1 0
C. Brown 1 1 0 1
D. Anderson 9 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
0 0 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
0 0 0
D. Anderson 0 0 0 0
Defense T-A SACK INT
D. Rutledge Jr. 24 S
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
10-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
10-1 0 0.0
D. Rutledge Jr. 10-1 0.0 0
R. Byrd 45 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
10-1 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
10-1 0 1.0
R. Byrd 10-1 1.0 0
R. Wade Jr. 47 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
7-1 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
7-1 0 1.0
R. Wade Jr. 7-1 1.0 0
R. Ellis 36 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
6-1 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
6-1 0 1.0
R. Ellis 6-1 1.0 0
R. Johnson III 92 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
5-1 0 0.0
R. Johnson III 5-1 0.0 0
K. Duncan Jr. 27 S
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-1 1 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-1 1 0.0
K. Duncan Jr. 4-1 0.0 1
Q. Williams 33 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 2.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 2.0
Q. Williams 3-0 2.0 0
M. Brinson 4 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
M. Brinson 3-0 0.0 0
J. Bowdry 5 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-2 0 0.0
J. Bowdry 3-2 0.0 0
T. Phillips 96 NT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
T. Phillips 2-1 0.0 0
J. Liptrot 15 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
J. Liptrot 2-0 0.0 0
K. Vildor 20 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
K. Vildor 2-0 0.0 0
C. Wright 94 NT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-2 0 0.0
C. Wright 2-2 0.0 0
D. Springer 98 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.0
D. Springer 1-1 0.0 0
T. Vliem 49 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.0
T. Vliem 1-1 0.0 0
T. Bradley 11 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
T. Bradley 1-0 0.0 0
D. Baker Jr. 31 S
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
D. Baker Jr. 0-1 0.0 0
C. Harris Jr. 32 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
C. Harris Jr. 0-1 0.0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
T. Bass 16 K
IN-GAME FG XP
2/2 2/2
SEASON FG XP
2/2 2/2
T. Bass 2/2 45 2/2 8
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
A. Beck II 98 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
4 42.3 0
SEASON NO AVG IN20
4 42.3 0
A. Beck II 4 42.3 0 54
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
J. Liptrot 15 CB
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
2 19.5 21 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
2 19.5 21 0
J. Liptrot 2 19.5 21 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT
T. Morgan 2 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
62.5% 283 4 1 171.8
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
62.5% 283 4 1 171.8
T. Morgan 20/32 283 4 1
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
R. Smith 1 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
11 57 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
11 57 0
R. Smith 11 57 0 16
C. Wiley 3 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
11 32 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
11 32 0
C. Wiley 11 32 0 7
B. Williams 21 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
15 22 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
15 22 1
B. Williams 15 22 1 14
S. Green 17 WR
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
4 -2 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
4 -2 1
S. Green 4 -2 1 4
T. Morgan 2 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
8 -17 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
8 -17 0
T. Morgan 8 -17 0 17
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
T. Johnson 6 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
12 149 4
SEASON REC YDS TD
12 149 4
T. Johnson 12 149 4 73
C. Autman-Bell 7 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 47 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
2 47 0
C. Autman-Bell 2 47 0 33
D. Douglas 82 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
3 40 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
3 40 0
D. Douglas 3 40 0 21
R. Bateman 13 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 27 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
2 27 0
R. Bateman 2 27 0 0
B. Williams 21 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 10 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
1 10 0
B. Williams 1 10 0 10
R. Smith 1 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
0 0 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
0 0 0
R. Smith 0 0 0 0
Defense T-A SACK INT
A. Winfield Jr. 11 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
6-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
6-0 0 0.0
A. Winfield Jr. 6-0 0.0 0
C. Coughlin 45 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
5-1 0 0.0
C. Coughlin 5-1 0.0 0
T. Barber 41 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
5-0 0 0.0
T. Barber 5-0 0.0 0
M. Sori-Marin 55 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
5-1 0 0.0
M. Sori-Marin 5-1 0.0 0
C. Williamson 6 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-1 0 0.0
C. Williamson 4-1 0.0 0
B. Mafe 34 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 1.0
B. Mafe 2-1 1.0 0
S. Renner 90 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
S. Renner 2-0 0.0 0
K. Schad 19 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-3 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-3 0 0.0
K. Schad 2-3 0.0 0
M. Dew-Treadway 18 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
M. Dew-Treadway 1-0 0.0 0
W. DeLattiboudere 46 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-2 0 0.0
W. DeLattiboudere 1-2 0.0 0
J. Harris 26 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
J. Harris 0-1 0.0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
M. Lantz 38 K
IN-GAME FG XP
0/1 5/5
SEASON FG XP
0/1 5/5
M. Lantz 0/1 0 5/5 5
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
J. Herbers 47 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
3 46.0 1
SEASON NO AVG IN20
3 46.0 1
J. Herbers 3 46.0 1 51
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
D. Douglas 82 WR
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 11.0 11 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
1 11.0 11 0
D. Douglas 1 11.0 11 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
D. Douglas 82 WR
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 19.0 19 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
1 19.0 19 0
D. Douglas 1 19.0 19 0
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 GAS 25 1:25 4 3 Punt
12:44 MINN 21 0:12 1 21 TD
11:37 GAS 25 5:01 9 67 FG
0:14 GAS 31 0:11 3 6 Punt
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
11:35 GAS 18 0:49 3 6 Fumble
7:07 GAS 25 2:59 7 37 FG
2:20 MINN 34 1:45 5 34 TD
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
7:33 GAS 20 3:04 6 17 Punt
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
14:43 GAS 26 1:30 3 -4 Punt
8:35 GAS 26 0:00 1 0 Fumble
6:25 MINN 2 0:20 1 0
0:13 GAS 35 0:07 3 11
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
12:55 MINN 41 0:06 2 38 INT
12:25 MINN 25 0:36 2 75 TD
5:59 MINN 25 5:45 13 75 TD
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
14:56 MINN 25 2:46 7 15 Punt
10:02 GAS 24 2:48 5 24 TD
3:30 MINN 25 0:28 4 9 Downs
0:27 MINN 25 0:00 1 6 Halftime
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
0:27 MINN 13 0:00 13 31 Punt
3:50 GAS 49 3:30 10 45 TD
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
12:22 MINN 24 3:40 6 5 Punt
8:23 GAS 26 1:22 3 8 FG Miss
6:05 MINN 25 2:00 5 19 TD
3:47 MINN 25 3:30 17 105 TD