Another lackluster performance by the Minnesota offense. That's the lede for today. While there are many factors to the struggles on offense, it's worth noting that Mitch had some especially cringe worthy moments. The defense? Well as usual the Minnesota defense was excellent. They held Kent State in check throughout the game. In fact, Kent State's biggest "offensive" play of the game was actually made by their defense, when Rashad Still was stripped and the Golden Flashes returned it for a touchdown.
The Gophers need to get the offense on track quickly. Northwestern is playing well. Purdue is...well...they're better than Kent State and we all see how that went today. As Zach Johnson said earlier on Twitter:
Yea, that seems reasonable. Here's some things I'm thinking.
1) Mitch Leidner was his own worst enemy today...
Mitch is what he is as a quarterback. If he hadn't thrown those interceptions would people be happy with him? No, that's unlikely. But those throws...In both instances the wide receiver was one on one with no defense over the top. If Mitch throws a strong ball then the worst thing that happens is an overthrow and an incomplete pass. Instead, he underthrew both receivers and the result was a pair of interceptions. He also had a terrible miss on a potential 3rd down conversion that was wide open.
2) ...and yet the ballad of Mitch continues.
Over 60% on completions. Multiple good passes. A nice touchdown drive to end the half. Mitch continues to give reasons to pull him while doing just enough to keep that from being the easy decision. The tough decision is made more difficult by...
3) The offensive line is not getting it done.
In the 4th quarter the offensive line got beat by a 3 man rush. 2 of the 3 rushers made it to Mitch. That's unacceptable and it was not the only example of offensive line futility today. And yet...
4) All the #RUTM is getting tiresome.
9 guys in the box? #RUTM. 8 guys in the box? #RUTM. I'm not the best football mind, but playcalling certainly feels like a problem too. This is not a team build for 3rd and long right now, but the playcalling is helping to create just that. I don't know what the options are when the offensive line is struggling to protect or get push regardless of what down it is, but I know putting Rodney Smith into the teeth of even a MAC defense isn't going to work often. My bigger concern is if this is the game plan when we get to the Big Ten season.
5) Minnesota defense and Peter Mortell are awesome.
Good on ya guys. You da real MVP's today.