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  Two games, and two losses, into the Gophers' 2020 football season. That's likely not what Rashod Bateman envisioned when he decided to return to the team after originally opting out in August. The reigning Big Ten receiver of the year put up solid numbers - nine catches for 101 yards - in the season-opening loss to Michigan, but he did not visit the end zone. He then had five receptions for 62 yards as the Gophers relied heavily on the run game in the overtime loss at Maryland. On a beautiful, sunny, 73-degree Saturday, however, that all changed as Bateman became the X factor of the Minnesota offense in a 41-14 victory over Illinois at Memorial Stadium. Sure, running back Mohamed Ibrahim had 30 rushes for 224 yards and four touchdowns, but it was Bateman who set the tone early, when the Gophers showed that this weekend would be different from the past two.

"Rashod played really well. The rest of the receivers played really well," Gophers coach P.J. Fleck said. "When we're balanced like that, that's who we are when we're at our best." The junior would collect a career-high 10 receptions for 154 yards - including eight catches for 125 yards and a touchdown in the first half as the Gophers built a 28-7 lead. Both the production of Bateman and the threat he presented helped the Gophers average 7.5 yards per play. "He's a huge playmaker, and we had opportunities to get him the ball," quarterback Tanner Morgan said. "He did a great job of getting open and making plays." - Minneapolis Star Tribune

(DS#5 WR) Jr/2021 WR *Rashod BatemanMinnesota
News Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune



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