Welcome back to Big Ten play, Minnesota. In the Gophers’ first conference contest of the season, Ohio State pushed Minnesota all night long. Although Minnesota dominated both of its contests against the Buckeyes last season — winning in straight sets — the Gophers struggled to escape the Buckeyes’ onslaught Wednesday. But despite Ohio State’s effort to rewrite the script, Minnesota emerged victorious with a final score of 3-2.
Littered with emerald trees and encapsulated by rugged topography, Les Bolstad Golf Course near the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus has been a landmark at the school since it opened in 1929. However, with its cut up fairways and significantly shorter length than most championship courses, the college game has moved away from using Les Bolstad as a host for competitions — opting for larger and nicer courses around the metro area. But after years of service, the course will finally get the makeover it needs.
Many college football fans would say that last weekend’s most contentious story was the suspension of reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston. They’d be wrong. Less than two weeks ago, Arkansas State University banned the school’s football players from putting cross stickers on their helmets to honor two former members of the ASU program who tragically passed away this past year.
Despite the laughable fact that the fans at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday had the same number of passing yards as the Gophers did through almost the whole game, redshirt freshman quarterback Chris Streveler might have played his way into the starting spot. Unlike redshirt sophomore Mitch Leidner’s first collegiate start, Streveler’s didn’t feature four rushing touchdowns or multiple completed passes — unless throwing one to the other team counts.
What a difference a year makes. Just 10 months after watching Reid Travis tell the hometown crowd he would be leaving Minnesota for the warmer climate of Palo Alto, Calif., another highly sought-after DeLaSalle High School basketball player stepped onto the podium to announce where he would be playing his college basketball. This time, however, Gophers fans weren’t disappointed. Jarvis Johnson announced Friday that he is going to stay at home and play in Minnesota.
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.
The NCAA should be ashamed. Not even 30 months removed from levying sanctions against the Penn State football program following the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, the NCAA made the decision Monday to lift the penalties inflicted on the school. The penalties lifted included a four-year postseason ban and a four-year reduction of scholarships. Forgive me for not cheering.
For Seth Vander Tuig, the journey to the sidelines of TCF Bank Stadium for a Saturday afternoon bout between Minnesota and Middle Tennessee State began almost four years ago, before Mission: College Football even came into existence. Before the inception of Mission: College Football, it was nothing more than one man’s dream to see each of the top 128 college football teams in the United States. But when Vander Tuig’s wife bought him tickets to a Notre Dame football game against Purdue, he started realizing that fantasy.
My apologies to the Gophers fans out there hoping for a team with an offense that could pick apart a defense at will. That won’t be your team this year. For the second consecutive game, Minnesota proved itself to be one-dimensional offensively against an inferior opponent. While I don’t want to take away from the Gophers’ ability to run the football — David Cobb looked like a man among boys out there en route to a career-high 220 rushing yards — Minnesota’s presence through the air leaves something to be desired.
When the Gophers said goodbye to Ashley Wittman and Tori Dixon at the end of last season, Minnesota volleyball lost arguably two of the best players in the program’s history. Dixon left the Gophers as their all-time leader in hitting percentage at .369, and Wittman ranks sixth in kills with 1,778. Beyond the gaudy numbers both athletes put up, Wittman and Dixon provided leadership, experience and composure when the Gophers needed it most. Replacing that sort of presence on the court will be a tall task for the Gophers as they continue into their season.
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