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Minnesota Football: The Monday Perspective is Jug-static

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Leon Halip

I usually spend all day Sunday contemplating this week's theme of The Monday Perspective.  Much of the day is spent in silent reflection pouring over the details of the prior day's game and seeking guidance from a higher power to ascertain what Gopher fans need to hear.  This week, after hours of blocking out the cries for attention from my family I was shown the answer for this week.  It came to me in a near comatose state of deep meditation while I watched my yin and my yang wrestle with each other over what needs to be shared.  Finally, it came to me...

WOOO HOOO!!! We just won the FREAKING JUG!!

I am excited, just very excited that the Gophers went to Ann Arbor walked into Michigan Stadium and whipped the Wolverines.  It is a very rare occurrence for Gopher fans to see The Jug in our possession and we should all enjoy this week celebrating the victory.

Typically after a big win I would implore you to not get too high after such a win.  But screw that, enjoy this week without worrying about the consequences of getting too emotionally high with seven Big Ten games still remaining.  True that we are not good enough to assume any wins, regardless of our opponent.  But that doesn't matter this week, we can worry about Northwestern next week.  This week...enjoy the win.

The one caution I have to give you is to not let anyone take our joy away.  Do not let your co-workers or "friends" who happen to be Badger fans diminish this win because it is obviously a terrible Michigan team.  As if that is the only way the Gophers could conceivably walk into Michigan Stadium and dominate the way it did.  Is this a great Michigan team who we just knocked out of the BCS Playoff?  Um...NO.  But just because the Gophers won, does not mean this team is the worst to take the field in the history of the winged helmets.  Maybe we could give the Gophers just a little credit here.

I recall number of outlets and pundits who thought this was not only a game Michigan would win but this would be the confidence builder to put the Wolverine season back on track.  The Gophers were an improved team but their one-dimensionality against a very good rush defense would end in yet another season without The Little Brown Jug.

The ESPN College Gameday crew, or two-thirds of them, didn't think Michigan would have any trouble with the Gophers on Saturday.

Kirk Herbstreit - "It's hard to imagine Michigan at home losing to Minnesota," he said. "I agree based on the way they've looked these last 3-4 weeks, you can say that. They're going to rally. They're not going to have a great home crowd, it might be a little sleepy. But they're going to win this game and they'll get going in the right direction."

Desmond Howard - "I think Minnesota's going to lose by double digits," he said. "I think the 13 points is pretty solid."

Brian, at MGOBlog.com led his weekly preview with this.

Minnesota is probably not real good. They've got quarterback issues up the wazoo, they lost 30-7 to a middling-at-best Big 12 team, they completed one pass last week. They are, in short, a Big Ten team. So I'm sayin' there's a chance.

To be fair, the rest of Brian's preview does continually point out ways in which this game could be close and the Gophers just might win IF certain things were to occur.  Those things nearly all occurred.

SBN's own Maize n Brew did a rountable of their staff and came away with comments like this...

"This is a good chance for me to say this: the goal is a dominating performance. Sometimes fans have to be patient and let a program build properly - I've been one of the people urging for patience - but that also doesn't mean we lower program expectations. Just saying. We are still Michigan."

and this...

"I think we'll still be talking about Brady Hoke's replacement, but at least we'll be discussing it after a victory. Michigan wins 20 - 10."

and this...

"Of course Michigan will win. This is one of the surest thing that the universe can give us, and although my expectations are generally pretty low for Michigan football these days, this is a lock."

I bring these comments up, not to make fun of those who may have uttered them but just to demonstrate that leading up to this game basically everybody assumed somewhere between a dominating Michigan and a close Michigan win.

And then Saturday happened.  We all saw it and there was nothing about this game that would indicate anything other than the Gophers dominated.  Certainly the Michigan offense was bad and helped us out on a couple occasions.  But lets give the defense some credit, can we?  Devin Funchess had his worst game of the season.  The Michigan offense was held to just 171 yards of total offense, with 74 of those coming on one forth quarter drive.  Even before the wheels came off in the third quarter this defense was holding Michigan in check.

And the Gopher offense?  Well it was supposed to be worse than the Michigan offense, going up against a good Michigan defense.  Maybe the Wolverines would struggle to move the ball but nothing like how out one-dimensional offense was going to struggle.  Not so fast my friends!  A defense that formerly ranked 9th nationally in rush yards allowed gave up 206.  And the anemic Gopher passing game found some life making some clutch completions to sustain drives that eventually led to points.

Now we get a couple weeks to get a few key guys healthier and a couple weeks to prepare for a bizarre Northwestern team.

But Saturday was a great win.  Enjoy it Gopher fans.

But if you think this was fun...wait till we bring home The Axe!!