Well that wasn’t much fun. The Northwestern Wildcats spoiled Senior Day at TCF Bank Stadium for the Minnesota Golden Gophers, smothering the Gophers’ inconsistent offense en route to a 24-14 victory. As you can imagine, we’re feeling a little sluggish on this Monday morning.
What is your Tweet-length (
140 280 characters or less) summary of the Gophers’ 24-14 loss to Northwestern?
gopherguy05: Another game of blown opportunities, lost chances, and frustrating play. Northwestern doesn’t win without help, and they got a truckload from us.
Iowa Gopher: Meh.
Ustreet: Shockingly, turning the ball over a lot does not lead to success.
To borrow a Fleck-ism, who is your pick for “Nekton of the Week” from the game?
gopherguy05: Blake Cashman. There isn’t another option. He left everything he had out on the field at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday.
Iowa Gopher: I’m feeling the peer pressure to go with Blake Cashman.
Ustreet: Blake Cashman. A truly remarkable performance on Senior Day, and another reminder of how putting players in positions to succeed can do wonders.
Who had the more impressive record-setting performance: Tyler Johnson reaching 1,000 receiving yards or Blake Cashman’s 20 tackles at TCF Bank Stadium?
gopherguy05: Cashman. Tyler’s is great but over the course of the season. Cashman’s one game was a total “F*** you” to the Big Ten office for snubbing him for B1G Defensive POW the week before. And because the Gophers lost, he probably won’t get it this week either.
Iowa Gopher: It’s been 10 years since Minnesota had a 1,000-yard receiver. Let’s not gloss over the fact that Tyler Johnson has developed into one of the best wide receivers in school history, becoming just the fifth Gopher to reach the century mark in receiving yards. Cashman was great on Saturday and has been good all season, though.
From turnovers to failing to finish drives, what was most frustrating about the lack of execution on offense?
gopherguy05: Missed opportunities. Tanner Morgan’s struggles, combined with an injured Donnell Greene looking like a revolving door at left tackle, were very poorly timed. Add in another missed field goal from previously flawless Emmit Carpenter and the Gophers threw away any chance they had to win.
Iowa Gopher: The ball is the program. Yet the Gophers have been abysmal all season at taking care of the football on offense and forcing turnovers on defense. Failing to close out drives in Northwestern territory is maddening as it is. Giving the Wildcats short fields to work with was a problem for Minnesota from both offensive and defensive standpoints.
Ustreet: Minnesota didn’t come away with points on four drives inside the Northwestern 30.
Not a bad follow-up for interim defensive coordinator Joe Rossi. What seems to be the difference for this defense?
gopherguy05: It seems to be more simple and they are playing smart, sound and fast. If the defense could have played like this for the rest of the Big Ten season, we wouldn’t be in another must-win situation next Saturday.
Iowa Gopher: Blake Cashman is a perfect example. What makes Cashman such a great player is his athleticism and instincts. Under Robb Smith, I think the linebackers, in particular, spent too much time thinking instead of reacting. Rossi has simplified the defense to allow players like Cashman to thrive.
Ustreet: The linebackers have fewer reads and are able to play downhill.
Which graduating senior will you miss most and why?
gopherguy05: Cashman has been the flashy one, but I’m gonna miss Jacob Huff. Through all of the insane injuries and suspensions the Gophers secondary has been through the last three seasons, he has stood out as the solid anchor of that group.
Iowa Gopher: Cashman is a stud and will be missed, but Donnell Greene, a three-year starter at left tackle, has been somewhat undervalued simply because the offensive line has frequently been a source of frustration during his career here. He has been quietly consistent and replacing him will be a challenge.
Ustreet: Blake Cashman will be the biggest hit of the seniors leaving.