The Gophers slipped by the Oregon State Beavers last week in a thrilling season opener, which was actually a lot less close, if you really think about it (and consider all 12 of the targeting penalties).
Standing in the way of 2-0 is the dangerous, deciduous Indiana State Sycamores out of the hated Missouri Valley. Unfortunately, it appears that the rivalry ends here, or at least until the Trees rise into the FBS ranks, since Big Ten teams are no longer allowed to schedule FCS opponents.
So get it while the gettin’s good, folks, because this is the last chance to beat up on the little guy. It’s actually a nice segue into the bye week, so the Gophers can heal up and get ready for Colorado A&M or whatever they’re calling the land grant university in Fort Collins these days.
Come to think of it, probably the biggest story line is if the Gophers can generate enough excitement to get students out of bed early on a sunny Saturday morning. That’s prime drinkin’ weather. Will the freshman come back for round two at TCF?
Other reasons for optimism:
- The Gophers are undefeated, all-time, against the Sycamores. That’s a solid 2-0. And Indiana State has never beaten a Big Ten team, racking up 15 straight losses.
- Rodney Smith is clearly the answer to our Shannon Brooks problems.
- Ryan who? Emmit Carpenter showed he’s totally capable of being a guy who can nail a 45-yard field goal when it counts.
- More like Peter who? Ryan Santoso is such a kicking god that he can just switch to punter and then just drop punt after punt inside the 20.
- The Gophers were so dominant on defense that the officials had to invent some targeting penalties just to level the playing field.
Prediction: Gophers win 45-20. Mitch Leidner runs in two scores in the first half and tosses another, giving way to Conor Rhoda for some fourth quarter fun. Rodney notches his second straight 100-yard game and brings his season TD total to four with two more rushing scores.
And, for a brief history lesson of the ISU mascot, let’s head on over to Wikipedia:
Early on in the school's history, the athletes were referred to as the "Fighting Teachers" (the school's original name was "Indiana State Teachers College"), until the students chose the name "Sycamores", due to the abundance of sycamore trees in Indiana and especially in the Wabash River Valley … During the 1950s and 1960s, the sycamore tree itself was used as Indiana State's mascot. However, as a tree does not lend itself well to an athletic mascot … the university created an Indian mascot named "Chief Quabachi", and his "Princess", in 1969. This change paid homage to the fact that ISU was the "State" university of a state named after Indians. The university dropped the "Chief Quabachi" mascot in 1989 in response to a variety of objections over use of the Indian caricature did not have another mascot until 1995, when a blue-and-white "furry woodland creature" named "Sycamore Sam" became Indiana State's mascot.
That’s just ... wow. The more you know.