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Gophers squeak by Oregon State in season opener, 30-23

Running back Rodney Smith rushed for 124 yards, leading Minnesota to a 30-23 victory over visiting Oregon State in a season opener Thursday night at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn.

Running back Rodney Smith rushed for 124 yards, leading Minnesota to a 30-23 victory over visiting Oregon State in a season opener Thursday night at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn.

Quarterback Mitch Leidner completed just 13 of 26 passes for 131 yards, but he rushed for 76 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries for Minnesota (1-0). Drew Wolitarsky had four catches for 54 yards.

Oregon State quarterback Darell Garretson completed 25 of 40 passes for 228 yards and three touchdowns for Oregon State (0-1). Running back Ryan Nall had 70 yards on 13 carries.

Garretson led a nine-play, 89-yard drive to put Oregon State up 7-0 in the first quarter. The drive included a 31-yard pass play to Nall and a 6-yard touchdown pass to Noah Togiai.

Garretson fumbled late in the first quarter when Minnesota's Tai'yon Devers came off the edge and flattened him with a clothesline sack. The Gophers took over at Oregon State's 28-yard line and tied the game on Leidner's six-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter.

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The Gophers took a 14-7 lead on a four-yard touchdown run by Smith midway through the opening half. The Beavers answered when Garretson threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Victor Bolden Jr. with 1:04 remaining, but Emmit Carpenter kicked a 45-yard field goal as time expired to give the Gophers a 17-14 lead at the half.

Oregon State recorded a safety when Minnesota recovered a fumble in its own end zone midway through the third quarter. The Beavers punted on the ensuing possession, but Wolitarsky fumbled, giving Oregon State the ball deep in Minnesota territory. Moments later, Garretson threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Tim Cook, putting the Beavers up 23-17.

The Gophers reclaimed the lead when Smith scored on a two-yard run early in the fourth.

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