The roller-coaster ride of a season continues, but I'm not really enjoying this ride. This ride got off to a bad start ever since Norwood's true colors showed themselves on the eve of camp. There's just been a weird vibe overhanging the team this season. It's been one big roller-coaster ride of up and down, around and around, where this ride stops, no one knows.
This was a odd week in Gopherland. It was extremely quiet throughout the entire week. It's as if everyone felt the Gophers were on a bye this week and not next. There was very little talk about the Nebraska game. Thankfully, no one was yelling and screaming about Mitch. Other than the non-story story that broke late in the week, the only thing anyone was talking about was whether or not the Bits of Broken Chair would be claimed (side note: awesome to see the Nebraska players and Mike Riley embrace the trophy, it appears this may take off after all). Unfortunately the defense played as energized as the fan base was throughout the week. In other words, they came out extremely flat and they were dominated.
Not really sure what happened versus Nebraska. This was the worst the Gophers defense has played in years. The shocking part was the lack of adjustment by the staff. Maybe we have grown spoiled with the genius of Tracy Claeys and how easily he seems to make in-game adjustments. But we didn't seem to see any adjustments as the game went on. Nebraska just did whatever they wanted to offensively. Even when a Gophers defender was in position to make a play they were a fingertip away from making the play or the Nebraska player would make a sensational play. It was kind of shocking to see them play this way. I don't know if all of the injuries have finally caught up to them or if they just didn't have it, either way it was eye opening.
One of the most frustrating aspects of how poorly the defense played is it wasted Mitch Leidner's best game as a starter. This was the Mitch I expected to see this season. He was on the money with virtually all of his throws. Sure he'd like to have a couple back, especially to Lingen in the decisive drive, more on this drive below. But every player is going to want a play or two back throughout the game. I'm sure Shannon Brooks would like to pick his foot up another 2" on the shoestring tackle that prevented him from housing another 70+ yard touchdown. Anyway, if Mitch can bottle this game and build on it he will quiet all of his critics.
Let's discuss that decisive 4th quarter drive shall we. Ultimately the players put Kill in the position to be forced to make a tough decision. Mitch missed an open Lingen, Mayes
dropped had a touchdown broken up and the pissed off Texan decided he was wrangling cattle. Instead of 3rd and 10 they were pushed back to 3rd and 20. Not ideal to say the least. Mitch scrambled for 5 and Kill decided to kick the field goal. In my opinion this was a really bad call and I don't like Kill's explanation afterwards either. 4th and 15 is far, far from ideal, however your offense has moved the ball and the odds are better that you will make a play or draw a penalty instead of fielding an onside kick. The odds at fielding an onside kick are slim to none, I'm sure MV would be able to produce the actual statistical breakdown, but the game essentially was over the second Kill made the decision to kick the field goal. The interception and pick-6 that took place afterwards were to be expected and happens all of the time.
Maybe I'm being too critical of Kill, as I said he was put in a position to make a tough decision, but I feel he took the game out of the players hands with his decision to kick the field goal. As bad as this game was, they were still somehow in striking distance of making it way more interesting than it should have been. The other factor I thought about it is, if they could have punched that home, the Nebraska players would have had the "great here we go again thoughts" with all that has happened in their season and who knows what happens once that thought enters their minds. Sadly we as a Gopher fan base know that feeling all too well.
This has been discussed in the past and to me it reared its ugly head again against Nebraska. Does the Gophers offense have a running back screen in its playbook? The Nebraska defense was just begging to have a running back screen called on them in the 4th quarter. In my opinion it would have been a perfect play call for the 4th and 15. But that's just one mans opinion.
So let's get onto what really matters, the Stroll Through Twitterland. The main hashtags for this week were:
Every year the U honors our service members and this great event took place against Nebraska. Thank you to all of those who have served and who are currently serving.
Stars & Stripes. pic.twitter.com/FfYGwHIvTS— Minnesota Gophers (@GopherSports) October 17, 2015
@RedditCFB reminds everyone about the Bits of Broken Chair Trophy.
Members of @GopherVBall came out to cheer their fellow student athletes on.
Some good news to come from the game is BBC made his triumphant return and @RyanBurnsMN let everyone know what should be expected from BBC.
I'd expect the #Gophers to have All-American CB Briean Boddy-Calhoun back today. Thinking you'll see him on some nickle packages.— Ryan Burns (@RyanBurnsMN) October 17, 2015
@chipscoggins has been critical of Mitch throughout the season but he gives credit where credit is due.
That's a hell of a opening series for Mitch Leidner. Three big throws, last one a 24-yard TD to Carter.— chipscoggins (@chipscoggins) October 17, 2015
Apparently it only took Jerry Kill 5 years from essentially starting a program from scratch to reach the Glen Mason level.
The #MortellforHeisman campaign is still in full effect.
Let the @PMortell37 for Heisman campaign continue. Nebraska pinned at the 1.— The Daily Gopher (@TheDailyGopher) October 17, 2015
Last but certainly not least, @FauxPelini sums up what everyone was thinking after they decided to kick the field goal.
That field goal turned a two possession game into a two possession game— Fake Bo Pelini (@FauxPelini) October 17, 2015
So there you have it, another Stroll through Twitterland. What were your favorite tweets throughout the week? What did you think about them opting to kick the field goal? How are you handling this roller-coaster ride?