The University of Minnesota made their new coach proud with a road victory over Michigan State to start their Big Ten Conference campaign.
The Gophers hired Rob Holder as their new head coach, but were aware that Holder could not accompany them to this weekend's match due to a prior commitment.
The players, however, weren't too concerned.
"Most coaches will tell you they do their work before the whistle and after the whistle, and during the game it's more up to the players, and so we knew that going in," said captain and scrumhalf Jack Butterfield.
"We worked a lot on really basic rugby," added Holder, who got the news of the result, a 29-17 victory over the Spartans, soon after full time. "A good maul, strong defense, and stick to the game plan."
Butterfield said that when Minnesota stuck to their game plan, they scored tries, but they didn't always stay true to the tactics. Overall, though, their mauling was strong and it stressed the Michigan State defense.
"We wanted to run through the phases, and when we did we ran them over," said Butterfield. "But we were sloppy, too and we committed a lot of penalties on defense."
With a new back row, the Gophers kept getting in trouble for being offside or coming in from the side. That, said Holder, is fixable.
"I would rather have penalties or mistakes from being over-aggressive than the opposite," he said.
Lock Ben Bakk scored two tries, aided by a strong forward effort, and in the backs inside center Charlie Johnson, and wings Nick Furey and Brian Hanson also touched down. Butterfield added a conversion, as did fullback Nick Hermann.