Welcome to the Glorious Victorious edition of the Nugz. Gophers win! Gophers win! We are undefeated!
Gopher FB Jon Hoese's 3 TD's was the big story from the 24-17 win last night, writes the Strib's Phil Miller. As you probably know, Hoese's father Terry suffered a stroke a week ago, and has been kept in a coma to keep the swelling down in his brain. Pretty incredible that with all of that going on in his life, Jon was able to focus and play extremely well.
While Hoese was the feel-good story of the night, the most promising one for Gopher fans was tailback Duane Bennett's monster night. The junior, who is now almost two years removed from major knee surgery, looked to be back to his old self, as he ran over, around, and through the Blue Raider defense for 187 yards on 30 carries (that's 6.2 yards per carry. Yeah I could get used to that). And if you're wondering, Bennett's the first Gopher back to rush for over 100 yards in a game since DeLeon Eskridge did it against Illinois on October 11th. Of 2008!!! So yeah, we needed that one.
Miller, who it seems to me has been much busier than former Strib Gopher beatwriter Kent Youngblood, also has a third story on the defense's ability to play through the heat. Considering we just had the third hottest August on record here in Minnesota, the heat shouldn't have been foreign to anyone on the Gopher team. Still, the defense did enough to win, but clearly there's some work to do.
The only person with a more optimistic
mancrush view of Adam Weber than our very own GN is head coach Tim Brewster. It should be noted the PP's Marcus Fuller wrote this story BEFORE Weber's less than inspiring performance last night. Like GN, Brewster tells Fuller all of the many reasons why it's not Adam Weber's fault that Weber and the passing offense aren't very good.
But Weber isn't the only Gopher quarterback he thinks the world of. He tells Fuller that backup QB MarQueis Gray could be a top 10 pick in the NFL draft- as a wideout. Gray certainly has some ability, but he has a lot to learn about playing receiver, as he had just one catch for 22 yards last night.
Two of the next three Gopher opponents, USC Sept. 18 and Northern Illinois Sept 25, played last night. Iowa State (you may remember them from the Insight Bowl back in December) whupped NIU 27-10. NIU was the preseason favorite to win the MAC, so this either says the Cyclones are going to be good, or the Huskies aren't. Or maybe a bit of both? And if you were thinking Pete Carroll leaving USC and all of the sanctions he left behind meant the mighty Trojans could be ripe for an upset, well, think again. SC went out to Hawaii and creamed the Warriors 49-36, rolling up 524 yards total offense. Yes, their defense gave up 588 yards to Hawaii, but 459 of that was passing yards, and if you watched the Gophs last night, you know passing isn't quite our offensive strength right now. SC sophomore QB Matt Barkley threw for 257 and 5 TD's, and Marc Tyler, one of like 74 Trojan tailbacks who were high school All-Americans, had 154 yards rushing on just 17 carries.
Finally, bad news for the Big Ten and the rest of the country, as it looks like Ohio State coach Jim Tressell is going to unleash QB Terrelle Pryor this year. No surprise the Buckeyes destroyed Marshall 45-6, but the story is that Pryor threw for 247 and 3 scores while completing 68% of his passes. I said it on the podcast, and I'll say it again- if this is the offense Tressell chooses to run, then the Buckeyes will win the national title.