Minnesota (3-3, 0-3) is going into a winnable game against Illinois (2-4, 0-3) this week, looking for their first Big Ten victory of the year. Last week, the Gophers showed promise after switching to Demry Croft at quarterback near halftime. Illinois fell 35-24 to Rutgers on Saturday. A late fourth quarter rally wasn’t enough for Illinois, and Rutgers got its first conference victory after 16 straight losses in the Big Ten.
Like his brothers and father before him, Thomas Barber is shining with the Gophers. Barber, a sophomore linebacker, leads the Gophers defense with 52 tackles this year. He had 16 in last week’s game against No. 18 Michigan State.
One of the big developments coming out of the Michigan State game last week was Demry Croft taking over for Conor Rhoda at quarterback.
Gophers quarterback Demry Croft had a return to remember after three games of no playing time. Croft threw 163 yards and three touchdowns in the fourth quarter as Minnesota (3-3 overall, 0-3 Big Ten) fell 30-27 to No. 21 Michigan State (5-1 overall, 3-0 Big Ten) at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday.
For this weekly column, the Minnesota Daily interviews somebody knowledgeable on the Gophers next opponent: Michigan State. This week, we interviewed the State News’ senior football beat reporter Souichi Terada. This is his fifth semester at the State News, and his first year covering Michigan State football.
Gophers offensive lineman Jared Weyler returns this week from a foot injury, but the Gophers injured list is still long and full of starters. To make up for these injuries, head coach P.J. Fleck has had to pull redshirts. Two freshman cornerbacks now wearing redshirts could lose them in the Michigan State game this Saturday. Freshman Rey Estes is listed second-string cornerback behind junior Antonio Shenault, and freshman Justus Harris is listed behind sophomore Coney Durr — who is recovering from a torn ACL.
The Gophers were down 24-17 with 43 seconds left in the game when junior wide receiver Rashad Still caught his first reception of the year — a 32-yard, bobbling catch that put Minnesota at the Purdue 32-yard line and kept the drive alive. The highlight reel play didn’t matter. Four plays later, Conor Rhoda threw an interception that the Boilermakers returned for a 76 yard touchdown to give Purdue (3-2 overall, 1-1 Big Ten) a win over Minnesota (3-2 overall, 0-2 Big Ten) Saturday night at Purdue’s Ross-Ade stadium in West Lafayette, Indiana.
Minnesota suffered its first loss to its first conference opponent, Maryland, by a score of 31-24 at TCF Bank Stadium Saturday. The Gophers will have a chance to bounce back against a Purdue team with a 2-2 record, whose two losses came from nationally ranked teams. The Boilermakers lost 35-28 to No. 17 ranked Louisville and 28-10 to No. 8 Michigan last week.
Lindsay Whalen, the second all-time leading scorer in Gophers women’s basketball history, had a homecoming to remember. The Minnesota Lynx won the WNBA Championship over the Los Angeles Sparks at the University of Minnesota’s own Williams Arena Wednesday night.
Last year, tight end Brandon Lingen couldn’t catch a break when it came to injuries. He played just three games junior year due to a torn shoulder, a broken collarbone and a broken foot throughout his collegiate career. This season, he’s in his longest healthy stretch since his breakout 2015 season. He has three touchdowns and the third-most receiving yards on the team.