Maybe for the first time in the Tim Brewster era we have an opportunity for some real Monday morning quarterbacking. We probably win the game if Joel Monroe makes a short kick, but as GN said the other day, these things happen in college football.
But Brewster made two important decisions that can legitimately be second-guessed. The first came in the fourth quarter, on a fourth down. After Monroe missed a chip shot, Brewster brings out the field goal team for what would have been Monroe's longest field goal of the year. Here's what one Northwestern fan thought of that:
What were they thinking? Tim Brewster’s decision to fake a field goal early in the fourth quarter was just plain dumb. Northwestern had struggled all day to stop Weber when he took off and ran. Why not do that if you’re going to go for it? Instead, Brewster handed Northwestern momentum when he could have either picked up the first down some other way or pinned the Wildcats deep in their own territory with a punt.
On this call, I come down on the side that will question Brewster. I don't take issue with going for it on fourth down on this occasion. Brewster has been aggressive all season and our punting unit hadn't shown an ability to pin an opposing offense deep. What amazed me was the fake field goal call. It was obvious. I predicted it in the game thread because after Monroe missed a chip shot, it was real hard to believe he was going to hit a field goal bordering on 50 yards.
Going for it seemed to be the right call, but I would have much preferred to see Brewster turn the keys over to Mike Dunbar to find a high percentage play to get a first down.
The other call that is roundly being questioned is Brewster's decision to go all out at the end of regulation instead of playing for overtime. We all know this didn't work out, but I liked the aggression and if it wasn't for a banged up Eric Decker, the devastating interception could have been a big reception leading to a game-winning field goal attempt.
The Gophers didn't play great on Saturday. They did play good enough to win. But I don't think we can point to Brewster's decision making as the culprit.
- Myron Medcalf of the Star Tribune is totally on the Paul Carter bandwagon. Carter seems to have the right size and length to be an impact player. But Myron also thought Kevin Payton was going to excel last year, so let's just say I'm going to take a wait and see approach!
- It's understandable that our friends from Black Shoe Diaries wouldn't take kindly to an article suggesting that Penn State shouldn't have a crack at a national title game. Suggesting they would be "gangster-slapped" is clearly provocative. I'm curious though, do you think a Big Ten team deserves a national title game at this point? I'm not sure I think our conference has the stuff this year. We sure didn't the last two.
- If you missed SId Hartman's column on Sunday, he called the loss to Northwestern "a setback the U didn't need." My only gripe with the column is that he paints Mike Kafka as a joke, an also-ran. It's true the Gophers didn't have an answer early for his running, but I'd submit that Kafka looked like a pretty darn good athlete.
- From the Barn has pictures from Saturday's open practice. I'm jealous. Hard to blog about Minnesota from Virginia!
- It wasn't all bad Saturday for Brewster. Despite the loss, he received a commitment from 5-star wide receiver Hayo Carpenter from California. I'm sure our football recruiting expert GN will have more on Carpenter in the coming days. For now, Marcus Fuller of the PiPress has more.