That was a fun weekend for Gopher sports. Men's and women's hockey rolled to sweeps, and oh by the way, the football team won. Wait what? Yeah, that happened. The Gophs' 20-17 upset in Evanston was so much fun simply because it was so unexpected after what we had seen the previous weeks. Nate Sandell of 1500E!SPN has notes and observations from Saturday's win, including the importance of Minnesota winning the turnover battle 3-0. Usually a disciplined team, they were flagged 9 times for 89 yards, but did a great job of taking care of the ball on offense and special teams, and taking it away on defense. Sandell gives his gameball to senior OLB James Manuel, and notes how well Brock Vereen played in his move back to corner. With so many injuries in the seconday, Tracy Claeys has really had to shuffle things around back there, but came up aces with Vereen at corner, and Antonio Johnson starting at safety as he led the team with 11 total tackles, including 7 solo. Sophomore Damarius Travis also played pretty well rotating in at safety in his first extended playing time of his career.
Brian Hall of FSN looks at 5 Things from the Gopher victory over Northwestern.
There were a ton of positives to take from that game, and I said we'd give you the weekend to enjoy it before we got back to reality. As a community, I think you guys waited, like, seven comments before it took a turn to Negativetown. So yeah, I guess we're all ready for the next game then. And the next game is Nebraska. The Huskers are a good team that has flat owned Minnesota dating back to the 1980's, but I'm guessing you already knew that. We'll have a ton on this game this week (on behalf of the staff, I'd like to apologize for our performance covering football the past two weeks. We sucked. Obviously, I blame GN), but this morning let's focus on the following...#QBGAZE13 is back and better than ever!
GoAUpher? FIRE UP THE MINION!
Yes, the QB controversy is alive and well, as for the third straight game the listed backup on the depth chart ended up finishing the game, as Philip Nelson came off the bench in the second quarter to lead Minnesota's offense to its only offensive TD of the afternoon. He finished 8-11 for 112 yards and a TD pass, with zero interceptions. He finally looked like the confident QB we really haven't seen since the Purdue game last season, and my gawd let's hope it's a sign of things to come. Yet that's just it- both Nelson and Mitch Leidner seem to play well for a stretch, maybe even an entire game, before absolutely crapping the bad. Will Nelson finally put an end to the QB carousel of madness and take the job once and for all? Remember, it was all of two weeks ago that Leidner looked like the guy, so it's unfortunately not only not out of the realm of possibility that Nelson starts slowly against Nebraska and gets yanked, with the way it's gone...you know the drill.
Our lead #QBGAZE12 correspondent Marcus Fuller reports that interim head coach Tracy Claeys will announce the starter tomorrow:
I'd like to announce that on Tuesday, so that the guy who is going to play knows he's in charge," Claeys said Sunday. "The good thing is that we rep them both in practice. Whichever one doesn't start, I still want to get them in the game in the first half, just in case we have to use them.
Which of course leads me to the following question: WHY? As in "WHY DO BOTH GUYS NEED TO PLAY?!?!?" They have similar skill sets! Neither one has been great for more than a full game! You don't need both, you need ONE! Just one freaking guy! For the love of all that's good and holy- and clearly for the sake of my freaking sanity- Nelson needs to come out of the gates on Saturday playing well and put this thing to bed. It's nothing against Mitch, but moving forward this season, if the Gophers hope to go bowling again and take some steps forward on offense, the QB Carousel of Shame needs to stop. Please, PLEASE make it stop!
Moving on, I'm sure you heard Coach Kill was in attendance in Evanston on Saturday, and per Claeys, Kill will be there again to watch the Nebraska game too. Still no word on Kill's return to the team (which is totally fine), but sounds like he'll be around to watch a bit from a private box again Saturday.
Gopher men's hockey swept Bemidji State, including a 5-1 win Saturday night. New polls will be out later today, and don't be surprised to see the #3 Gophers move up to #1, as last week's top ranked club Miami split with North Dakota, while the #2 BADgers of Wisconsin were trounced 9-2 by BC and 7-3 by BU over the weekend. BC visits Mariucci this Friday and Sunday, so I'm going to reserve public verbal floggings of Wisconsin until we see how the Gophers stack up this weekend. But I'm laughing at Bucky on the inside, of course.
Speaking of #1, the top-ranked Gopher women's hockey squad continued rolling right along with a sweep of UMD. If you want to watch a Gopher hockey team that still plays in the WCHA- and also never loses- then this is the team for you. The win streak is now at 55 games.
The first BCS Standings of the season are out (last time we'll ever have to say that!), and after drubbing Clemson, star QB Jameis Winston Florida State finds itself at #2 behind only Alabama. Oregon is just .03 points behind in third, then a drop to Ohio State at fourth and, wait, MISSOURI 5th?!? Yeah it's been that kind of year as the SEC has decided to devour itself. Not sure if you're one of those "I cheer for the B1G to win" type people, and if so, this may not be the year for you. Ohio State very well can/should win out, yet barring losses for one of the top three, OSU would be left out of the national title game. Considering how they played against Iowa, maybe that's not such a bad thing.