At 6 feet 4 inches, 250 pounds, with agile feet and mitts for hands, Maxx Williams is a mismatch for defenses.
After not being a target for nearly the entire first half in Minnesota’s 42-20 victory over Eastern Illinois on Thursday, the redshirt sophomore tight end hurdled over two defenders and scampered for 25 yards – making SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays in the process.
“I knew my time would come, and when it came, I took my best chance at it,” Williams said Tuesday.
The Gophers’ defensive line took a major hit during Thursday’s season opener against Eastern Illinois — three players went down with injury.
Head coach Jerry Kill said junior Scott Ekpe will be out for the season with a leg injury. Kill did not reveal a timetable for the injuries suffered by junior Alex Keith and redshirt sophomore Yoshoub Timms.
“[Keith and Timms] are not lost for the season, and we’ll see how this week progresses with them,” Kill said.
In case Minnesota fans needed reminding during Thursday night’s season opener against Eastern Illinois, Maxx Williams is still an athletic freak.
In his first action since the Texas Bowl, the redshirt sophomore caught a Mitch Leidner pass, turned up field, leap-frogged over two diving Panthers and shouldered into a defender on his way to a 25-yard gain.
The only issue is that this play came toward the end of the second quarter, marking the first time Williams had been targeted all game.
Recap: Minnesota’s defense came into the first game of the season with high expectations and lived up to them. The Gophers forced three Eastern Illinois turnovers to go along with a blocked punt by defensive back Eric Murray, which Minnesota recovered for a touchdown.
The redshirt freshman scored two touchdowns in his first college game.
In the past year, TCF Bank Stadium has been the site of football, hockey and soccer games, as well as the University of Minnesota homecoming and MLB All-Star Game concerts.
This weekend, the venue will get a new inhabitant when the Minnesota Vikings host the Oakland Raiders on Friday in a preseason game at TCF, their home for at least the next two seasons as they await their new stadium.