The University of Minnesota Golden Gopher Football team is like a phoenix; out of the fire that was the Brewster era, a Goldy Gopher will rise from the ashes. To mix sayings, all hail Jerry Kill, our once and future coach. Long live the coach, the Jerry Kill era is great! Its time for 3 Stars, 4 Quarters, 5 Thoughts!
Three (or Ten) Stars:
Star 1: #29 Briean Boddy-Calhoun (DB - RS JR)
How do you top an amazing game against Ohio State? If you are Briean Boddy-Calhoun you force and recover a game winning fumble. I don't have the full defensive stats available to me at this time but I recall him making some more big plays; but sometimes it only takes one great play to be a star.
Star 2: #7 Mitch Leidner (QB - RS SO)
Some might wonder why I am giving a star to a QB who completed only 47 percent of his passes? Many of you questioned him on Twitter during the game ("who's going to be QB next year). Well guess what folks, he gets a star because he didn't screw up and he didn't give up. Mitch led our team down the field multiple times, didn't throw an interception, and didn't fumble (thank goodness he was ruled down). He was also our leading rusher with 111 yards (22 carries for an average of 5 yards) and 2 touchdowns. Tell me he doesn't deserve a star, I dare you.
Star 3: De'Vondre Campbell (LB - RS JR)
Campbell has been a big part of our defense all year long but has been in the Shadow of his fellow JUCO transfer #5 Damien Wilson (LB - SR); however, in the last few games Campbell has really stepped it up. Today he was a disruptive force and led the Gophers with 11 tackles, 2 for a loss including a huge sack for 11 yards on the first drive of the second half.
Stars 4, 5, & 6: Next Man Up
The Gophers have a special player in #27 David Cobb (RB - SR) (15 carries for 80 yards (5.3 ypc), 1 TD, 2 receptions for 29 yards) but today he got hurt after the Gopher's first offensive series of the second half. I'm sure many of us wondered how we could win without him. Next man up is how. #35 Rodrick Williams Jr., #20 Donnell Kirkwood (RB - RS SR), & #1 KJ Maye (WR - JR) all played a big role in keeping the ship upright. Williams only had 3 carries but with an impressive average of 7.3 yards per carry (32 rushing yards) and 1 touchdown. Kirkwood had 7 carries for 32 yards (4.6 ypc) including an important first down on the final drive to end all hope for Nebraska. KJ Maye didn't replace Cobb but the threat of him on jet sweeps (2 carries, 15 yards) opened up holes for everyone else and he had 2 big receptions for 50 yards including the catch of the day.
Stars 7, 8, 9, 10: The Unsung Heroes
This game as just a great effort all around, really every Gopher deserved a star today. For the third week in a row unsung hero #41 Miles Thomas (FB - JR) made an important catch to keep a drive alive while constantly making big blocks during the game. If I recall correctly, on the Rodrick Williams Jr. touchdown he blocked two players at the same time that allowed Williams to score. #37 Peter Mortell (P - RS JR) had 4 punts (one not so hot) with 3 of them pinning the Cornhuskers inside the 20. #18 Ryan Santoso (K - RS FR), while having a field goal blocked and returned for a touchdown by Nebraska, was a perfect 4/4 on extra points. More importantly, he found his leg again on kickoffs. In a post-game interview on the Gopher Radio Network, Coach Kill called Santoso's kickoff into the wind for a touchback after the last touchdown one of the best plays of the game. Nebraska was only able to return one kickoff for 16 yards and one punt for zero yards. SPECIAL TEAMS! Lastly, #52 Zac Epping (OL - RS SR) caught a loose ball out of the air for a 4 yard gain rather than a turnover.
1st Quarter: Ma Ma Hu Hu
Minnesota started the game with the ball but despite a few nice plays including a 22 yard run by Leidner, the Gophers were forced to punt after 6 plays. Nebraska made quick work of their first opportunity by driving 84 yards in only 5 plays to score the first touchdown of the game. Unfortunately for Nebraska this drive was overshadowed by the loss of their center and their leading wide receiver. The Gophers do a great job by driving 71 yards on the next possession to tie the game. The quarter end with a well advised timeout by Nebraska forcing Mortell to punt into the wind and have a rare bad punt. Minnesota 7 - Nebraska 7.
2nd Quarter: D'Oh
Nebraska scores another touchdown but Minnesota marches right back down the field only to have another touchdown scorred....by Nebraska. Great block, scoop, and score by Nebraska gave Nebraska a 14 point lead going into halftime. Minnesota 7 - Nebraska 21.
Halftime: I Believe We Will Win
Kill and company are great at halftime adjustments. My father told me after the game that he really thought the Gophers could come back at half. It's so nice to truly fell that way compared to how we used to feel (that the Gophers could still loose even if they were winning at half).
3rd Quarter: How You Like Me Now
What a start to the third quarter. Gophers get 2 sacks to drive Nebraska backwards for 15 yards on their first possession and for a 3 and out and great field position for the Gophers. David Cobb is a stud but sadly hurts his leg in the process of scoring. Nebraska drives down the field but are limited to a field goal. Minnesota says I see your field goal and raise a touchdown, despite losing two running backs in this quarter already. Minnesota 21 - Nebraska 24.
4th Quarter: Centuries
Some legends are told
Some turn to dust or to gold
But you will remember me, remember me for centuries
And just one mistake
It's all it will take, we'll go down in history
Remember me for centuries
I guess we are the turn to gold part. Nebraska had a good defensive stand forcing the Gophers to punt only have to punt themselves. Gophers marched 78 yards down the field to score the go-ahead touchdown, but it wasn't easy. Mitch Leidner fumbled on the first play of the drive but Zac Epping recovered for a gain. A few plays later Mitch had a nice pass/catch with KJ Maye and then another to #88 Maxx Williams (TE - RS SO). Kirkwood then had a nice 8 yard run followed by a three yard run to setup a Mitc Leidner keeper for a 2 yard touchdown. Santoso booted the ensuing kickoff deep for a touchback but Nebraska gave a valiant effort assisted by a questionable roughing the passer call but thanks to a little strip/recovery from BBC, the kept the lead. With a first down run by Kirkwood, the Cornhuskers declined to use their remaining timeouts and conceded the game. GO GOPHERS! SKI-U-MAH! Minnesota 28 - Nebraska 24.
To win at least 8 games two season in a row is great. To defeat a team like Nebraska in their own house is amazing.
I'm so incredibly (explicative deleted) happy. So darn proud of these kids (I mean men).
What was up with all the injuries today? I really felt bad for everyone, particularly the seniors who got hurt.
It was a clean game with only one penalty (BS) against Minnesota for 15 yards three against Nebraska for 25 yards.
Thought number 3 of course doesn't reflect all of the missed calls by the refs. #BIGTENREFS. It is apparently legal to hold Minnesota.
On Wisconsin...you're going down Badgers. The Axe is coming home.
While writing this tonight I was watching a great football movie, 22 Jump Street, perhaps you've heard of it?