Mitch Leidner ran for two touchdowns and threw another as Minnesota cruised to a 42-14 win over visiting Eastern Illinois in their season opener.
Berkley Edwards added two rushing touchdowns for Minnesota (1-0) while Donovahn Jones racked up 57 receiving yards and a score. Leidner finished 9-of-17 for 144 yards without an interception and added 15 yards on seven carries, including his two trots into the end zone.
Andrew Manley had two passing touchdowns and a rushing score for Eastern Illinois (0-1). Manley finished 18-of-34 for 200 yards in relief of Jalen Whitlow (14-of-23, 110 yards, interception).
Leidner, who took over as the Gophers' full-time quarterback this season, ran for a 2-yard touchdown with 1:53 to go in the first quarter to open the scoring. He found Jones for a 35-yard strike to make it 14-0 late in the second and added a 5-yard TD run early in the fourth to push the advantage to 28-0.
Edwards piled on with scoring runs of 1 and 42 yards in the final period. He finished with 60 rushing yards on just four carries as the Gophers totaled 182 yards on the ground to 99 for the Panthers.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Whitlow attempted a punt early in the third quarter. It went three yards. ... David Cobb led the Gophers with 71 rushing yards on 14 attempts. Whitlow had a team-high 77 yards on 19 carries for the Panthers. ... Minnesota LB Damien Wilson had a game-high 10 tackles.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun