Football

Subhead: 
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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Leidner should sit out against San Jose State.
Publish Date: 
Mon, 09/15/2014
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Jerry Kill, welcome to football hell.

After three weeks of abysmal quarterback play, the head coach of the 2-1 Gophers is in an unenviable situation.

With a contest against lowly San Jose State on the horizon, Kill faces a season-altering decision: who to start at quarterback next weekend.

He could choose to stay with redshirt sophomore Mitch Leidner. After all, Leidner helped lead the team to a bowl berth last year and proved he’s capable of being a game-changer under center.

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Publish Date: 
Mon, 09/15/2014
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Recap: The Gophers started their first road game of the season slow and never caught up as they lost to TCU 30-7. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Mitch Leidner started for the Gophers after battling an injury throughout the week. Leidner couldn’t get it going, though, as he went 12-for-26 with 151 yards and three costly interceptions. Leidner also fumbled.

Minnesota’s rushing attack that produced 284 yards last week was only able to muster 99 yards against a stout TCU defense.

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Mitch Leidner, David Cobb and other players have nagging injuries.
Publish Date: 
Mon, 09/15/2014
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Every time Mitch Leidner dropped back to pass in Minnesota’s 30-7 loss at TCU on Saturday, pressure seemed to come from all sides. 

TCU’s talented defense sacked the Gophers quarterback multiple times, and Leidner rarely had time to cleanly get passes off.

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Publish Date: 
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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Publish Date: 
Mon, 10/13/2014
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Minnesota 24, Northwestern 17

Saturday, Oct. 11

TCF Bank Stadium

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.
Publish Date: 
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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With the victory, Minnesota is off to a 2-0 start in conference play.
Publish Date: 
Mon, 10/13/2014
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There’s no consensus among the Gophers football team regarding who the team’s fastest player is.

But sophomore defensive back Jalen Myrick made his case as he bolted down the left sideline for a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown Saturday, which made the difference in Minnesota’s 24-17 victory over Northwestern.

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Subhead: 
Minnesota’s passing attack is struggling, but KJ Maye is gaining momentum.
Publish Date: 
Wed, 09/17/2014
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When fall camp ended and reporters asked Jerry Kill who had impressed him the most, the Gophers head coach quickly said KJ Maye.

But Maye didn’t have a single catch in Minnesota’s season-opening victory against Eastern Illinois.

A few days later, redshirt sophomore quarterback Mitch Leidner said there were “a lot more things” the Gophers would do in their next game in early September against Middle Tennessee State to get Maye the ball.

Maye finished that game with zero receptions, too.

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