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The last time Tanner Morgan visited Lincoln, Neb., he was impressed by the balmy weather the Nebraska folks were enjoying 10 days into December of 2020.
"I remember the night before we got there, it was like 54-55 degrees,'' the Gophers sixth-year senior quarterback recalled of the game against the Cornhuskers. "And then you just opened up the blinds, and it was snowing in the morning. … They had a ton of people out there shoveling [Memorial Stadium], and it was like, 'Man, this is gonna be fun.' And it was.''
Fun for the Gophers came in the form of a 24-17 victory over the Huskers with Minnesota missing 33 players because of COVID-19 or injuries. Mohamed Ibrahim pranced through the snow for 108 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Two years later as the Gophers prepare to return to Lincoln for the first time since 2020, they looked back on that game with fond memories.
"People always ask, 'What are some of the great moments that you've had in your six years [at Minnesota]?'' Gophers coach P.J. Fleck said on his KFXN-FM radio show on Tuesday. "I say the Casey O'Brien Rutgers game and that Nebraska game. … Those are the ones you remember as a coach because those are the ones that you know how hard it really was.''
In that game, a makeshift offensive line, which included true freshman Aireontae Ersery making his first start, paved the way for the Gophers to rush for 206 yards on 43 attempts.
Linebacker Mariano Sori-Marin, then a junior, had a career-high 18 tackles as the Gophers held Huskers quarterback Adrian Martinez to 16-for-27 passing for 111 yards with an interception.
"We went out there and had a great performance as a team, and individually I had a great performance,'' Sori-Marin said. "Credit to all the guys on the defense. Yeah, that was a special moment.''
Ibrahim put his stamp on the game with a 26-yard touchdown run on a direct snap for a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter. On the play, he outraced the Huskers defense to the pylon, then slid on the icy sideline into a gate. In the fourth quarter, Ibrahim took another direct snap and rushed 1 yard for a TD to make it 24-14.
Ibrahim showed his unselfishness on his final carry, when he had a clear path to the end zone for a third TD but instead slid down at the Huskers' 6-yard line so the Gophers could kill the final 1:11.
Awards roundupMorgan was named one of 12 semifinalists for the Wuerffel Trophy, which honors college football players who serve others, celebrate their positive impact on society and inspire greater service in the world. It's considered the premier award for community service in college football.
Morgan is actively involved in the Gophers' charitable efforts, and he has entered in a name, image and likeness deal with the Angel Foundation, which provides financial assistance to cancer patients. Morgan and local hat company Kapps Customs collaborated to produce Kapps for Cancer to benefit the Angel Foundation. The caps can be purchased at www.kappscustoms.com through the end of the football season.
Guard Axel Ruschmeyer has been nominated for the Burlsworth Trophy, which goes annually to the top college football player who began his career as a walk-on.