Deep breaths! Deep breaths! Deep breaths! Has everyone started breathing again? I'm fairly certain being a fan of this program has taken 17 years off my life and the Ohio game didn't help any. But you know what, they got the win and that's all that matters. They are sitting 3-1; right where we all had them at the beginning of the season. The three wins might not be how we all envisioned them playing out, but they are still sitting right where we thought they would be. So let's celebrate that fact, not dwell on the negatives.
The past couple of weeks have been difficult. There's been a lot of consternation. A lot of frustration. A lot of finger pointing. A lot of second guessing and quite frankly a lot of anger. Even though the Ohio game didn't go as scripted and there were some negatives, I want to focus on the positives. As I said above, they are right where we all had them at this point in the schedule. It doesn't matter how they got there, the fact is they are 3-1. Let's not forget it wasn't all that long ago they were losing to the likes of New Mexico State, South Dakota and (insert program here). I would much rather be in the position they are in, where they are struggling and winning than going back to those horrible days. So the deep breaths we all took at the top weren't just for the heart attack style of victory over Ohio, but a reminder, things could be worse.
Here are some of the positives I saw in the Ohio game:
1: First and foremost, Good Mitch showed up and it was a lot of fun to watch. He wasn't perfect, he's not going to be perfect, but in my opinion this was one of his best games as a starter. He was decisive, he looked calm and in control, he stood tall in the pocket and took some violent hits, he looked like he was on a mission. He had this "I'm not going to let my team lose this game" look about him. I'm not sure I've seen that look from him before. One of the big knocks on Mitch is, he's not good enough to just go win the game like big time quarterbacks do. I'll make the argument he did just that in the Ohio game. That go ahead drive was surgical. Did anyone honestly think they were going to drive the field, starting at the 13 yard line with 2:30 left in the game? I'll be honest, I didn't think so, yet Mitch put the team on his shoulders and drove them home. Yeah, yeah, yeah, he got lucky on the one throw that should have been picked. But you know what, Peyton Manning has gotten lucky once or twice in his career as well. Mostly, I saw a player who can take a lot of positives from this game to continue to grow as a player.
2: How about those young receivers? They are starting to get comfortable and they are starting to show their talent. They are starting to make plays they couldn't make even three weeks ago. Besides seeing them actually catch the ball, my favorite thing to see from them is the yards after catch. They are making plays once they have the ball in their hands. If they can continue to develop and Mitch can get them the ball consistently, this offense may take off after all.
3: It was only one game, but I was having some serious flashbacks to the MBIII/Maroney days while watching Smith and Brooks run. The thing I noticed the most and we all saw this from MBIII/Maroney all of the time, is they appeared to have this "anything you can do, I can do better" attitude. Yet, they were cheering the other guy on just as hard as they wanted to show they could do better. That attitude is what made MBIII and Maroney so good. They wanted the other guy to succeed, but they were driven to show they were just as good, if not better. Is this the beginning of another two-headed monster attack?
4: Matt Limegrover. You called a very good game. You called plays that played to your players strengths. Now keep building on this.
5: This wasn't the best game for the defense, but again we are looking at the positives. The D-Line had a heck of a game. They beat the snot, I mean ankle, out of Vick. He took an absolute pounding in this game because the D-Line was applying so much pressure. Steven Richardson, I heart you!
Those were just some of the positives I saw in the Ohio game, but let's get to what really matters, our Stroll Through Twitterland. The main hashtags for this game were:
As I was saying above @GopherFootball
"I was more excited for him and his first touchdown than I was for mine." Smith, on cheering Brooks on.— Minnesota Football (@GopherFootball) September 26, 2015
Please continue @GopherFootball
"It's good to have a back like Rodney in front of me." Brooks, on looking up to Smith for motivation.— Minnesota Football (@GopherFootball) September 26, 2015
@RyanBurnMN points out, not one, not two, not three, but four cuts. FOUR! I may have shed a tear of happiness while seeing this run. Words can't describe what he did on that run. It was beautiful!
Here's the Shannon Brooks (@THEKID2335) 40 yard touchdown run for the #Gophers. Jump cuts galore. @PickensFootball pic.twitter.com/GhefPLSeOh— Ryan Burns (@RyanBurnsMN) September 26, 2015
@RedditCFB reminds us Brooks also did this...
Now *that* is how you challenge a tackler, from #OHIOvsMINN: https://t.co/T7ouiQeIW0— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) September 27, 2015
@JFunk247 points out how ridiculous some of the anti-Mitch rants have been the past couple of weeks.
I can't believe Mitch Leidner fumbled that punt return— Joe Funk (@JFunk247) September 26, 2015
Ok, this is The Daily Gopher, if I use a tweet from @TheDailyGopher will the internet explode? Let's find out.
Special Teams...SMH— The Daily Gopher (@TheDailyGopher) September 26, 2015
@ChiSotaGuy with a sentiment I think we should all be having today.
Big props to MITCH.— Ryan Priola (@ChiSotaGuy) September 26, 2015
@WanderTheMap reminding us what we didn't have for a log, long time. So thankful for this amazing stadium.
Enjoying a hot and sunny #gophersgameday! pic.twitter.com/Kv5wDErgSJ— Wander The Map (@WanderTheMap) September 26, 2015
Last but certainly not least, @GoUApher reminds us possibly the most important positive to take away from the Ohio game is, at least we don't have this guy as our coach. Oh Bert, I almost feel bad for you. Wait, no I don't.
SO MUCH DELICIOUS BERT PAIN. https://t.co/XUyxzUP8KX— Chris H. (@GoAUpher) September 27, 2015
What were your favorite tweets this week? What positives did you take away from the Ohio game? Do you think they can build on this game offensively?