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College football: No. 17 Minnesota routs Maryland to stay unbeaten

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Tanner Morgan (2) hands off the ball to running back Rodney Smith
Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan (2) hands off the ball to running back Rodney Smith (1) during a game against Maryland on Saturday in Minneapolis.
Stacy Bengs | AP

Rodney Smith ran for 103 yards to become Minnesota's career leader in all-purpose yards, Seth Green had two touchdown runs and the No. 17 Golden Gophers routed Maryland 52-10 on Saturday.

Tanner Morgan was 12-of-21 passing for 138 yards and two touchdowns to help the Gophers (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten) reach 8-0 for the first time since 1941. Minnesota has the nation's fourth-longest winning streak at 10, trailing Clemson, Ohio State and Appalachian State.

The Gophers were national champions when they started 8-0 in 1941. The 5-0 start in conference play is their first since 1961, the last year they earned a trip to the Rose Bowl.

Maryland (3-5, 1-4) lost for the fifth time in six games while again losing a starting quarterback. Tyrrell Pigrome was injured late in the first half. He was helped off the field favoring his left leg.

Minnesota Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan
Minnesota Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan passes the ball against Maryland during the third quarter of a game at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday in Minneapolis.
Hannah Foslien | Getty Images

Javon Leake had a team-high 44 rushing yards and the Terrapins were held to 79 yards rushing as a team. In wins over Minnesota the past two seasons, Maryland had a combined 577 yards rushing.

On the second play from scrimmage, Pigrome's pass to Dontay Demus Jr. was tipped and intercepted by Antoine Winfield Jr. Morgan capped the ensuing drive with a touchdown pass to Rashod Bateman.

Coney Durr later intercepted Pigrome's pass, on another tip by Demus, and returned it 72 yards for a touchdown.

Four-time cancer survivor Casey O'Brien, who received national attention after playing in last week's game for Minnesota, made another appearance on Saturday, holding for extra points.

The Gophers have taken care of their schedule to date. Now comes the challenge with home games against No. 6 Penn State and No. 13 Wisconsin and road games at No. 20 Iowa and Northwestern in the season's final month. 

Minnesota has a two-game lead in the Big Ten's West division and likely would appear in the conference championship game with a victory against the winner of next week's Iowa at Wisconsin game.

Another small move up the poll is likely on Sunday, particularly with No. 13 Wisconsin losing its second straight game. The Gophers' last ranking as high as this season was in 2004, when they reached No. 13.