The Minnesota Gopher football team played a season opener at TCF Bank Stadium for the first time Thursday night, and routed a team they needed three overtimes to beat last year, topping their Mountain West Conference opponent UNLV 51-23.

The two teams faced off in Las Vegas last season, with Minnesota picking up a 30-27 triple overtime win in that one. The Gophers entered last night's game as a 14 point favorite.

Minnesota quarterback Phillip Nelson finished last night 10 of 22 for 99 yards, and 83 yards rushing to make him the leading rusher. Gopher David Cobb rushed for 69 yards.

Marcus Jones returned a UNLV kick 98 yards for a touchdown, and Martez Shabazz picked up a blocked UNLV field goal, and returned it 51 yards for a Minnesota score.

Next up for the Gophers: Saturday, September 7th at New Mexico State.