Remember back in 2007? The Gophers struggled to get one win that season. We all took our lumps saying it can only get better. It was better in 2008 and 2009. But in year four of the Brewster era we are right back to where we started. The season is quickly melting down before we even hit the Big Ten season.
Tonight the Gophers played an awful game. The defense was unable to stop the Huskie running game. The punt unit was unable to block the rush. The offense was incapable of converting third and short. The offense could not convert scoring opportunities into touchdowns. And most importantly the coaching staff was unable to prepare the Gophers to face Northern Illinois.
The Huskie ground game came into the game averaging 227 yards per game, first in the MAC. Much of that was due to QB, Chandler Harnish's 295 yards rushing. Tonight NIU had over 200 yards on the ground before the 4th quarter even started. In the 4th when we knew the Huskies would be running the ball they still managed to run at will. Chad Spann finished with 223 yards rushing and two touchdowns with big play after big play throughout the game.
- 1st QTR - 56 yard run
- 2nd QTR - 33 yard run
- 3rd QTR - 30 yard run
- 4th QTR - 18 yard run
- 4th QTR - 61 yard TD run
The NIU passing game didn't put up any significant numbers but they didn't have to because the run game could almost do whatever they wanted.
Conversely the Gopher ground game was non existent. Duane Bennett finished with 74 yards on 24 carries and had one long TD run called back because of a phantom holding call. But what killed the Gopher offense was their inability to convert short yardage situations on the ground. We were 2/2 in the 1st quarter on 3rd and short. But after that Bennett was stopped on 3rd and 3, Hoese was stopped on 4th and 1, Kirkwood couldn't covert 3rd and 2, Bennett was stopped short on 4th and 2. Too many short yardage situations that have to be converted. I respect Northern Illinois but they are not that good.
Adam Weber racked up a nice statistical game but much of that was in the 4th quarter when passing was the only option. His completion % was a nice 67% but the yards, second TD and even the INT were due to a lot of attempts when the game was over except for the score. MarQueis Gray had another very nice game tonight as he settles in as one of the most productive receivers in the conference.
But during the game, the rest of this coming week and the rest of the season the story is about Tim Brewster. In year four a 1-3 start to the season is unacceptable. An 0-3 start at home is unacceptable. We gave up 41 points to an FCS school and we lost to a solid but NIU team that ran us over for just under 300 yards on the ground. This is embarassing and there will be more and more empty seats at TCF Bank stadium as the year goes on.
Brewster said what needed to be said in the post game. But the question will be when is enough enough?
Post game press conference Brewster addresses a question about his job security (after the jump)
Next is Weber/Gray/Collado answering questions. These guys looked pretty dejected and it was a reminder that these guys are just kids and this is hard on them. Being a fan and having to watch this is one thing but living it is another, especially for the seniors on the team. Weber said it best at about the 1:20 mark. It is easy for us to write off the season and look ahead to a new coaching regime. But these kids are working everyday to win some games, this sucks for them more than it does for us.
"We've still got 8 games left. This season's coming at us, there's a game next Saturday whether we like it or not. So let's go into it, let's prepare like we always do and lets win."
The link to part of their press conference can be found here.