The Minnesota Golden Gophers improved to 2-0 all-time in Quick Lane Bowls with a 34-10 victory over Georgia Tech, becoming the first program in college football history to do so. Quite an achievement, and a feather in the cap of head coach P.J. Fleck.
What is your Tweet-length (
140 280 characters or less) summary of the Gophers’ 34-10 victory over Georgia Tech?
GopherNation: Back to back dominating performances by the Gophers on defense and in the trenches. So many reasons to be excited about next year.
gopherguy05: Dominating on both sides of the ball makes for lots of happy Gopher fans heading into 2019.
Ustreet: Gophers are still able to recruit.
To borrow a Fleck-ism, who is your pick for “Nekton of the Week” from the game?
GopherNation: Mohamed Ibrahim with the most rushing yards by a Gophers since Maroney in 2005? Who else would it be?
gopherguy05: It’s Mo, but I’ll give a shoutout to the Huff brothers for going out with a heck of a finish in their last game in the maroon and gold.
Ustreet: Ibrahim for what GopherNation said, though arguably also offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca for realizing that the Outside Zone/Sweep was going to be wide open all game.
Will more recruits take notice of Minnesota now that they’ve beaten Georgia Tech on national television?
GopherNation: Not likely. Would be fun to poll all of the incoming recruits to ask them how their new teams did in the previous year’s bowl game?
gopherguy05: I know some of our fair posters are running with an inside joke here, but when you win a bowl game on ESPN, someone was watching, no matter the stakes.
IowaGopher: You know what they say. On the recruiting trail, you’re only as good as your last bowl game win over a mid-tier ACC program with a retiring head coach.
Ustreet: I think it’s clear that future 5 stars have shot Minnesota up their interest lists. No one takes a team seriously until that team wins an exhibition game in Detroit.
Has defensive coordinator Joe Rossi been legitimately impressive or is it more of a case where general competence has been a breath of fresh air?
GopherNation: I don’t care. I think it is very clear that he has been able to better communicate what each player’s role and responsibilities are. Once clearly communicated, they are able to then execute.
gopherguy05: I’ll say legitimately impressive for no other reason than the players have been drawn to him and are playing a hell of a lot better for him than they did Robb Smith. Hopefully we come to find out going forward it’s because he really is impressive in his schemes and it sets up well for 2019.
IowaGopher: Legitimately impressive. The Gophers are 3-1 and have allowed 14.8 points per game since he took over as defensive coordinator, with that lone loss coming against the Big Ten West champs. Opponents have been 12-for-50 on third down with Rossi calling plays. He also has been exceptional at neutralizing the strength of the opposing offense, whether it be Purdue’s passing game or Georgia Tech’s rushing attack. The latter was especially impressive considering he was without four starters. Rossi is the real deal, in my opinion.
Ustreet: The latter begets the former. Rossi is still Fleck’s best recruit.
It was a bit of a ho-hum game for quarterback Tanner Morgan. How are we feeling about the Gopher signal callers as we head into the offseason?
GopherNation: Let’s hope that there is a big jump in the learning curve from freshman to sophomore seasons for both of the freshman quarterbacks. My money is still on Zack Annexstad as next year’s Game 1 starter. This is going to be a strong roster throughout, and quarterback may be the position that holds this team back. There is a long offseason to get things figured out.
gopherguy05: In my opinion it’s a completely open three-way competition for the job between Morgan, Zack Annexstad, and Jacob Clark. I’d love to find someone who can throw a deep ball and hit a receiver in stride, because if Morgan could do that, then Bateman would have had two easy touchdowns in the bowl game. Whether it’s the new guy, or one of the soon to be sophomores who improves this summer, I’m fine with it, but hopefully it will be someone who improves upon the 2018 signal callers.
IowaGopher: I’m encouraged by the fact both Annexstad and Morgan saw the field this season, gained meaningful game experience, and looked competent at separate intervals. Hopefully the quarterback competition will push them both to be better as they look to take the next step in their development. I know some are already clamoring for incoming freshman Jacob Clark, but let’s maybe wait until he is actually on campus and practicing with the team before we anoint him the second coming of Adam Weber.
Ustreet: There will be a legitimate quarterback competition in the spring, which is healthy and good for the team. I still expect Annexstad to win that competition.
Minnesota was the first Big Ten team to play their bowl game. Are you one of those people who roots for the Big Ten the rest of the way or do you say screw ‘em?
GopherNation: All but two of them.
gopherguy05: I can get behind all but two of them. Let them lose by 50. Though by the time I’m writing this one of them cakewalked through their game. Now once we get to a position to be worried about the Big Ten’s place in the world to improve upon our own standings... until then I’m not terribly heartbroken if some of our friends struggle.
IowaGopher: I won’t lose sleep over any Big Ten bowl game, but there are a couple Big Ten teams I wouldn’t mind seeing lose in humiliating fashion to end the season.