Big win for Jerry Kill's Golden Gopher football squad, as they ran over, around and through San Jose State for the 43-24 victory. The Gophers ran for 353 yards, and a had a good first start for QB Mitch "Moose" Leidner, who ran for 154 yards (at 6.3 per carry!) and tied a school record for QB's with 4 rushing TD's. QB controversy? Well of course there's a QB controversy! Fire up the minion!
I'm not against Leidner starting again, but based on his performance against SJSU, I'm also fine with Nelson getting his job back IF he's healthy for Iowa. "Moose's" running performance was fantastic, and he led the Gopher offense to SIX OFFENSIVE TOUCHDOWNS (Minnesota now has 16 rushing TD's through four weeks. They had 14 all of last season!). But his passing, besides the one gorgeous deep ball down the seam to KJ Maye, left a lot to be desired at 5-12 for just 71 yards. Remember Nelson had a big night running against NMSU (although it was hard to tell in AggieVision) so he's proven he can run effectively too. At this point, if Nelson is healthy for Saturday he should start against Iowa. If he's not...
...And at least as of today, it looks like he's not. Marcus Fuller of the PP quotes Jerry Kill as saying it's looking likely Nelson and last year's leading rusher Donnell Kirkwood may not start against Iowa:
"Hundred percent out of Mitch is better than 80 percent out of Philip," Kill said. "Hundred percent out of David Cobb is better than a 90 percent Donnell. You get 100 percent out of Philip and 100 percent out of Donnell, it's a different deal. But they both handled their injuries good."
Were Nelson 100% for Iowa, he should play. But if he can't, and Leidner plays well again? Going to be tough to argue against sticking with "Moose" after that. As for Kirkwood, there's simply no reason to rush him back when the guys ahead of him are playing so well. Don't look now, but David Cobb has become the team's feature back, as he ran 25 times for 125 and 2 scores against SJSU. Nugget had 15 for 60 and Kirkwood did not carry once. That distribution may change this week for Iowa, but expect Cobb to be the #1 guy for now, and boy has he earned it.
Gophers DC Tracy Claeys saw his defense get lit up by David Fales and the SJSU offense in the first half to the tune of 294 yards. As Nate Sandell writes, some critical halftime adjustments made a huge difference in the second half.
I thought Spartans QB David Fales looked every bit as good as advertised against Minnesota, throwing for 439 yards, 3 TD's and 2 picks on 22-35. He made some real-deal NFL throws, got the ball out on time and in rhythm, and had a number of throws into tight spots where only his receivers could catch it. Basically, the exact opposite of Christian Ponder. Yet CBSSports.com's draft analyst Dane Bulger thought SJSU QB David Fales' performance in the loss was a mixed bag. Mixed bag? He's better than Christian Ponder right now!
Minnesota will unveil a Goldy Gopher statue for Homecoming. All I know is, it's not a REAL Goldy tribute unless that statue can spin his head.
The Gophers 4-0 start is beginning to draw some national attention. E!SPN B1G blog has Minnesota 6th in this morning's B1G Power Rankings and also get a mention in what is right now, thanks to Michigan's underwhelming past two weeks, a wide-open "West" division race. In his weekly "College Football Overtime" piece on SI.com, Stewart Mandell has Minnesota listed as a wildcard for the Big Ten Title race. Not only that, the Gophers picked up a single vote for the Coaches' Top 25 poll. Anyone know who that coach might be?
Finally, former Golden Gopher hockey star Phil Kessel was involved in a full out brawl last night in a pre-season game (PRESEASON!) between Buffalo and Toronto. Buffalo's gigantic John Scott (every bit of the 6'7 and 250+ pounds he's listed at) goes after the much smaller Kessel, who retaliates with a two-handed chop to Scott's leg that he likely didn't even feel but was still, nonetheless, a two-handed chop like he was trying to fell a tree. David Clarkson of the Leafs' came flying off the bench to defend Kessel (for which he'll receive a 10 game suspension) and everybody else grabbed a dance partner in one of the best "Donnybrooks" the NHL has seen in awhile. Did I mention this was a PRESEASON GAME?!? Oh, and one last thing- GOALIE FIGHT! Fan-freaking-tastic.
More from The Daily Gopher:
- The Daily Gopher Wants To Make a Difference for the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota
- Minnesota Football: Mitch Leidner Earns Big Ten Freshman of the Week Honors
- Minnesota Volleyball: Tori Dixon Earns Big Ten Defensive Player Of The Week Honors
- Minnesota Football : Gophers Dominate on the Ground, Withstand the Arm of David Fales
- Minnesota Football: San Jose State and David Fales Visits Gophers at TCF Bank Stadium