Football

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Minnesota is now bowl eligible and No. 1 in the Big Ten West.
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Mon, 10/20/2014
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The Gophers snuck past Purdue on Saturday after a strong second-half comeback, making the University of Minnesota team bowl eligible and the Big Ten West leader.

Even though the victory was  expected — the Gophers opened the week as a double-digit favorite — it carried a string of surprises.

Nobody predicted the Gophers (6-1, 3-0 Big Ten) to win 39-38 in a topsy-turvy game of missed extra points, 52-yard field goals, interceptions, called-back interceptions, fumbles, fumble calls that were overturned and unsportsmanlike penalties.

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Minnesota's defense allowed 31 points in the first half, but made big plays when it mattered most.
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Sat, 10/18/2014
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Minnesota beat Purdue on Saturday to improve to 6-1 on the season. The opening line favored the Gophers by 15.5 points — a Minnesota win was the result almost everyone expected.

But it’s safe to say nobody predicted the Gophers (6-1, 3-0 Big Ten) to win 39-38 in a topsy-turvy game of missed extra points, 52-yard field goals, interceptions, called back interceptions, fumbles, fumble calls that were overturned and unsportsmanlike penalties.

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For Minnesota to contend, its top quarterback must keep playing with confidence.
Publish Date: 
Thu, 10/16/2014
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Five weeks ago, Mitch Leidner didn’t look like a Big Ten quarterback.

Playing with an injured left knee, the redshirt sophomore threw three interceptions against TCU’s athletic defense as the pocket constantly collapsed around him.

Leidner arrived in Fort Worth, Texas, with a left MCL sprain and departed even more wounded — in both his body and mind.

After he went down with turf toe in the second half, his confidence was shaken.

Leidner sat out the next week against San Jose State to get healthy.

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Darrell Hazell is turning around a program that has struggled.
Publish Date: 
Thu, 10/16/2014
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Four years ago, Jerry Kill left Northern Illinois, a Mid-American Conference school, to take over a struggling Gophers program with the idea of bringing the school back into the national spotlight.

Fast-forward four years, and the Big Ten has another coach from a MAC school attempting to turn around a struggling program.

Darrell Hazell is in his second year at the helm of Purdue’s football team after serving as the head coach of Kent State.

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Minnesota’s goal is to hold opposing offenses to fewer than 17 points per game.
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Wed, 10/15/2014
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After allowing Northwestern to put together a 97-yard touchdown drive to tie the game in the fourth quarter, the Gophers’ defense had a new sense of eagerness.

“We definitely felt like we could stop them on the next drive. There [were] no heads down. We were still confident in ourselves,” senior linebacker Damien Wilson said Saturday after the Gophers’ 24-17 victory over Northwestern.

The defense has been playing with confidence, which is arguably the reason the Gophers have bolted to a 5-1 start.

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Mon, 10/13/2014
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When ESPN commentator Ed Cunningham said the Gophers were the favorite out of the Big Ten West following Minnesota’s victory over Michigan, I smirked.

My initial thought was that Cunningham’s praise was simply an example of a well-known media pundit using superfluous language to make a victory seem bigger than it actually was.

But after the Gophers grinded out a victory against a gritty Northwestern opponent over the weekend, it seems as though Cunningham’s words might hold water after all.

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After the Gophers game Saturday, a crew worked late to get TCF Bank Stadium NFL-ready before kickoff Sunday.
Publish Date: 
Mon, 10/13/2014
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Just 30 minutes after the Gophers football team toppled Northwestern on Saturday, the signature maroon and gold “M” had nearly vanished from TCF Bank Stadium’s 50-yard line.

More than 100,000 fans filed into the University of Minnesota stadium over the weekend to watch the Gophers or Vikings, as the teams played consecutive games Saturday and Sunday. But behind the players’ stage, operation staff worked overnight to transition the facility from a college scene to one ready for an NFL game.

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After the Gophers game Saturday, a crew worked late to get TCF Bank Stadium NFL-ready before kickoff Sunday.
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Mon, 10/13/2014
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Just 30 minutes after the Gophers football team toppled Northwestern on Saturday, the signature maroon and gold “M” had nearly vanished from TCF Bank Stadium’s 50-yard line.

More than 100,000 fans filed into the University of Minnesota stadium over the weekend to watch the Gophers or Vikings, as the teams played consecutive games Saturday and Sunday. But behind the players’ stage, operation staff worked overnight to transition the facility from a college scene to one ready for an NFL game.

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Publish Date: 
Mon, 10/13/2014
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Recap: The Gophers (5-1, 2-0 Big Ten) took a 7-0 lead toward the end of the first quarter with a 1-yard quarterback sneak from Mitch Leidner. The team never trailed in a 24-17 win against Northwestern.

The Wildcats did fight back in the fourth quarter with a 97-yard drive to tie the game at 17-17. But sophomore defensive back Jalen Myrick quickly put the Gophers back on top with a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, giving Minnesota the lead that finished the game.

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Sophomore Jalen Myrick scored the deciding touchdown in Saturday’s game.
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Mon, 10/13/2014
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Jerry Kill endearingly calls Jalen Myrick “a piece of work.”

Sometimes the Gophers head coach has to tell the sophomore defensive back to pay attention in practice and stop messing around.

“I joke a lot,” Myrick said. “In practice, I play around a little too much.”

But Myrick got serious after Northwestern tied the game midway through the fourth quarter of Minnesota’s 24-17 victory on Saturday.

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