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Strolling Through Twitterland: Illinois vs. Minnesota

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Gophers Play a Complete Game and Are Now Bowl Eligible!

NCAA Football: Minnesota at Illinois Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

Stop me if you have heard this one over the past six years. The Gophers played strong defense, forced mistakes, capitalized on said mistakes, ran the ball hard, while wearing an opponent down to pull away late. For the first time this season, the Gophers played the type of game we have come to expect from them the past six years. We have seen flashes of this old form this season but they have admitedtly not put a complete game together until the Illinois game.

Even though it felt as if the Gophers were in control, the two teams exchanged punches throughout the first half. In the second half the Gophers turned up the pressure on the young QB, forced more mistakes, rode their stud running backs and pulled away late. The Gophers just wore Illinois down and they never had an answer for the Gophers dynamic duo.

I admit I’ve been pretty hard on the team the past couple weeks. Part of the reason I have been so critical is because I knew they had more to give. I knew they had the type of game in them they played against Illinois. If they can take what they did in this game, continue to build on it, especially in the passing game, they will be right there in the West discussion until the end.

With four games remaining the Gophers are already bowl eligible. This is the fifth season in a row the Gophers have qualified for a bowl. That said, the Gophers aren’t typically bowl eligible at this point. Tracy Claeys had this to say during the 2014 season when the team raced out to a 6-1 record and it holds just as true today as it did then. "You don't sigh. You don't celebrate. You get bowl-eligible in October, you set your goals a hell of a lot higher". Keep building on that performance yesterday Gophers and you just may reach those higher expectations.

Here are my thoughts and observations about the game:

Mitch Leidner - Par for the course type of day. Your receivers had a couple more drops but you also let a couple get away from you. You were late on a couple throws you have to make at this point in your career. However, you were also running for your life for a lot of the game. That fake handoff though, #swoons.

Rodney Smith & Shannon Brooks - I’ve got nothing more to offer that hasn’t already been said at this point. I’m just sitting back and enjoying what I’m getting to watch week in and week out.

Offense - I don’t know if it is fair to offer a criticsm after they just dropped 40 on an opponent, but they are going to need a more balanced attack at some point going forward. There is a team to our East wearing red that will make life tough if the Gophers are too one dimensional.

Antoine Winfield Jr. - Giggity

Colton Beebe - DUDE I pray for anyone who dares get in your way on a sweep. My goodness.

Defense - You made life pretty darn tough for an offense that lacks playmakers.

Jeff George Jr. - You have your dads’ arm, that is for sure. You can make every throw out there. It doesn’t take much to see your talent. If Lovie Smith can find some playmakers to surround you with, as well as an O-Line that can keep you upright, you have a bright future.

Special Teams - Six, count them, six kickoffs have been kicked out of bounds so far this season. Two is unnacceptable and the Gophers have had six! Don’t forget the shanked punts as well. Oh yeah, don’t forget the muffed punts on the receiving end as well. They need to get that figured out and like quick.

Penalties - No comment at this point.

Ok, onto what really matters the Stroll Through Twitterland:

The main hashtags for this weeks were:

#MINNvsILL

#Gophers

#SkiUMah

#GopherGameDay

It is Halloween season afterall @tylerbirsch though I wonder if it was the Galloping Ghost trying to give his old team an edge.

Very true @jsnyds4 very true. The Gophers essentially control their own fate at this point.

I’m sure you got an answer to your question @Obstructedview2 but in case you didn’t they are in honor of The Galloping Ghost Red Grange.

It is about the only explanation at this point @vixenchan

@GoldytheGopher is pretty pumped about being bowl eligible in October.

As is @Starko44

Hope it was a great one coach @MikeSherels

I completely agree @MrThorman I don’t know what a defender is supposed to do there other than pull up and watch the receiver run 80 yards for a TD.

There you have it, this weeks Stroll. What are your thoughts on the game? Do you feel as if I do that this was as close to a complete game they have played this year? Can they continue to build on this?

#SkiUMah

Follow: @dvits14