Well, that’s not exactly how we all envisioned the Oregon State game going was it? But at the end of the day, a win is a win is a win and sure beats the alternative. I’m not going to sit here and pretend like that was a well-played football game, because it wasn’t. The Gophers made a lot of self-inflicted mistakes that almost cost them the game. But at the end of the day, both the offense and defense made plays when they had to and the Gophers secured the victory.
Look, this was the first game and the entire industry knows the first game always tends to be wacky one way or another. Last season the Gophers gave TCU everything they could handle. So naturally, we as the fan base took it to mean the Gophers were going to have a great season. When it was all said and done, I wouldn’t necessarily call last season a great season by any stretch of the imagination. Just because the Oregon State game was a sloppily played game against an opponent we all thought the Gophers should stomp doesn’t necessarily mean this season is going to be another disappointing season either. Let’s let the season play out a little more before we start making full assumptions on how the season will fare. Remember, one game doesn't make a season.
Here are my thoughts and observations from the game:
Mitch Leidner – Mitch, Mitch, Mitch what to do with you? This game was a complete microcosm of your time as the Gophers starting quarterback. On one hand you didn’t have the best game passing wise, which only fuels the #BlameLeidner crowd. On the other hand, you were effective with your legs, rushing for two touchdowns and you found a way to win the game, which is all that truly matters. Big picture Mitch, you will need to be better going forward for the #SpecialSeason to happen, but you were the least of my worries in this game. That pump fake though (swoons).
Jay Johnson – Coming into the game the thing I was looking forward to most was seeing how Jay Johnson calls a game. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see how Jay Johnson calls a game since Matt Limegrover was apparently still making the play calls. I know the base offense will essentially be the same as it was, which I’m fine with, but that was not the offense we were told to expect. I really, really hope they held the game plan back because they were playing a 3 win team from last season and they thought they could win with holding back.
Sloppy Play – As I mentioned above, this game was close because of the Gophers self-inflicted wounds. The good thing is, the majority of those mistakes are easily correctable. It’s cliché but it’s 100% accurate, the most improvement you will see in the season is from game 1 to game 2. I personally don’t expect to see a lot of the mistakes we saw this game going forward. Does anyone truly believe Tyler Moore will snap the ball 30 yards back twice in one game again anytime soon?
Targeting Penalties – Not sure how to feel about these. I completely understand the higher-ups are trying to make the game safer. That is commendable and should be applauded. However, I am having a really difficult time with the term "targeting". To me "targeting" implies intent. Did all three intentionally go headhunting? I don’t believe so. Slap them with a 15 yard Unnecessary Roughness penalty or whatever you want to call it but to eject and suspend them is a little too much in my opinion. It’s a collision sport and sometimes the head is going to be hit unintentionally. In some cases you’re asking players to defy the laws of physics to avoid head contact. Good luck with that. I’m also struggling with the fact even the refs don’t seem to understand what is and what isn’t "targeting". There is zero consistency from one set of refs to the next on what is and what isn’t "targeting". There isn't even consistency within the same game as to what constitutes "targeting". Ultimately I feel they have made the rule too black and white in a sport that requires a lot of gray. All that said, the cynic in me says the only reason they are trying to make the game safer in the first place is because the lawyers told them they had to do something to make it appear as if they were making the game safer. But that's just the cynic in me.
2-Point Conversion – It was the right call. Claeys has been consistent in that approach. End of story.
Freshman – Tyler Johnson, you look the part and I can’t wait to watch your development this season. Tai’yon Devers, you have something that can’t be taught and that is speed from the edge.
Enough about that, let's get to what really matters, our first Stroll Through the Twitterland of the season.
These were the main hashtags for this week.
I'll just let this speak for itself...
Not bad, @GopherFootball. Not bad at all. 〽️ #GopherGameDay pic.twitter.com/8R18g2JOXB— Minnesota W Hockey (@GopherWHockey) September 2, 2016
Truer words have never been spoken @matthewkrier
Say what you will about US Bank Stadium, some days the game is just meant to be played outside. #GopherGameday pic.twitter.com/oDnprJQac3— Matthew Krier (@matthewkrier) September 1, 2016
#BlameLeidner all you want, he must be doing something right. Congrats on the record Mitch.
Last night, Mitch Leidner earned a spot in the #Gophers record books. #SkiUMah pic.twitter.com/8303c0QShP— Minnesota Football (@GopherFootball) September 2, 2016
@hodgeUMah was prepared for Gameday!
@gophersports wore the brightest, most beautiful gopher thing I own. #SkiUMah pic.twitter.com/s01zgWD23M— WE DID IT!!!!!! (@HodgeUMah) September 1, 2016
Former Gopher offensive lineman @MrThorman speaks from experience.
Call me a homer, but most of the mistakes made tonight won't happen again this season. Young men overcame some shit and still won. #SkiUMah— Mr.Thor〽️an (@MrThorman) September 2, 2016
Actually @ringering45 Tracy Claeys does hold a degree in mathematics but you know what they say about assuming.
I'm going to assume Claeys didn't major in math...or strategic planning. #OSUvsMINN— Eric Ringering (@ringering45) September 2, 2016
Wasn't a sellout but I thought the crowd was loud and fully engaged. It made for a great atmosphere.
44,582 announced attendance at TCF for #OSUvsMINN— Zach Wright (@ZachWrightCO) September 2, 2016
I see what you did there @Pac12Network
We're one "Jobs" short of a tech empire in Minneapolis. #OSUvsMINN pic.twitter.com/WwP461bTbk— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) September 2, 2016
I tried not to laugh at this @RandBall but I couldn't help myself. Pretty funny.
Target Field, Target Center, Targeting Stadium— RandBall (@RandBall) September 2, 2016
I try and keep things fun and light during the Stroll but I wanted to take a moment to be serious. Most of you probably know by now Linebackers Coach Mike Sherels has been away from the team following multiple surgeries for an undisclosed medical issue. I don't have the words to describe how awesome it was to see @GobieMN tweet this out before the game. #SherelsStrong
Fantastic to see #Gophers Coach Sherels in attendance tonight.. #SherelsStrong pic.twitter.com/zxSvagXTqY— Kyle Goblirsch (@GobieMN) September 2, 2016
There you have it, we survived Week 1 with the #SpecialSeason still in play. What were you favorite moments from the game? Are you concerned about the sloppy play or do you think they can correct the mistakes easily enough? What were your favorite tweets from the game?