By now, you’ve no doubt watched the replay of Antoine Winfield’s game-saving interception in the end zone at least two dozen times, if we’re going to make a conservative estimate. We’ll get to that play, but first we’re going to turn our attention to the entire 60 minutes of the Minnesota Golden Gophers’ 21-14 victory over Fresno Sate.
What is your Tweet-length (
140 280 characters or less) summary of the Gophers’ dramatic 21-14 victory over Fresno State?
Winfield is da gawd
Rodney will be sorely missed
O-line must improve
gopherguy05: Too many TV timeouts, first half was a bit sleepy, but that last 10 minutes wowza, hell of a finish.
IowaGopher: Thank God for Antoine Winfield, Jr.
Ustreet: Saved by Winfield
To borrow a Fleck-ism, who is your pick for “Nekton of the Week” from the game?
GoAUpher: Since Winfield achieved gawd status and Emmit Carpenter got his microphone held for him all post-game presser, neither of them meets the mere mortal qualifications of this award. Given that, I’ll go Tyler Johnson on offense and Terell Smith on defense.
gopherguy05: I’ll say Winfield. I mean who the hell knows what happens in overtime if he doesn’t make that play. He didn’t have the best game otherwise in coverage, but I promise you no one will remember that.
IowaGopher: I mean, how can it not to be Winfield? But I’m with GoAUpher on giving a well-deserved shoutout to true freshman cornerback Terell Smith. He is a stud and has led or tied for the team lead in tackles in both of the Gophers’ first two games.
Ustreet: GoAUpher discussed this on Great Takes Less Filling. Bryce Williams and Terell Smith because we had a separate category for Winfield and Carp.
wildcat00: I’m going to go with the low hanging fruit and pick Antoine Winfield, Jr.
Seth Green has now scored four of the team’s seven offensive touchdowns. Small sample size or a sign of things to come?
GoAUpher: Sign of things to come if the offensive line doesn’t sort things out. His size as a battering ram and (/fingers crossed) the staff’s ability to create pass wrinkles out of the look should give him the opportunity to remain a viable red zone option against many (but not all) teams left on the Gophers’ schedule. That said, if the offensive line works out their issues, I don’t expect the staff to rely on his size and athleticism as much.
gopherguy05: He’s gonna be the benefit of vulturing the other backs on the goal line. It will be interesting to see once we hit the Big Ten season just how well it works without a bit more of a tendency to hand off or throw the ball. But yeah, he is your goal line power back right now, so he’s gonna keep scoring.
IowaGopher: I’m inclined to lean more towards a small sample size. I’m not sure how effective the battering ram approach will be against the Big Ten. Like everyone else writing for this site, I’m interested to see if offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca will introduce more wrinkles with Green lined up in the wildcat as the season progresses.
Ustreet: The latter if he’s the goal line package.
wildcat00: Ask me again in three weeks. I think it’s too early to say, but I like some of the Seth Green-specific wrinkles in the offense the last two games.
If Rodney is lost for the season, how concerned are you about the Gophers’ ground game moving forward?
GoAUpher: If I’m honest, I’m more concerned about the struggles of the offensive line. Obviously this is a better team with Rodney playing... that’s a given. But if we had a line delivering consistent push and opening consistent holes, then I think the backs we’ve still got are talented enough to take advantage and put the Gophers in a good enough spot.
gopherguy05: It will be a struggle. I think Mohamed Ibrahim and Bryce Williams will be ok, but they won’t just have that “it” that Rodney has. If you can keep muddling through the middle of the season and then get a full strength Shannon Brooks back for 3-4 games at the end of the season, I’ll be ok.
IowaGopher: My heart breaks for Rodney, because I think it’s a cruel twist of fate to have his senior season is pulled out from under him after two games. But I liked what we saw from Williams against Fresno State and I look forward to seeing what he can do. Like GoAUpher, I’d be less worried if the offensive line was more consistent in run blocking, and if not for the fact that Ibrahim is not 100 percent yet after injuring his ankle in the opener.
Ustreet: A lot, particularly if the line continues to have difficulty run blocking. Rodney made a lot of yards out of nothing.
wildcat00: If Rodney’s gone for the season, it’s not an overreaction to panic. I like Jonathan Femi-Cole, but I don’t think he can do the hard running that Rodney can ...yet.
The Gopher defense was dominant for three quarters. What aspect of their game was most impressive?
GoAUpher: The sureness of their tackling, the way they swarm to the ball, their ability to get penetration and make stops behind the line, and the defensive secondary’s coverage (minus a couple of blown assignments that led to the largest “chunk” plays of Fresno’s last two drives).
gopherguy05: Their tackling in space was pretty good. There were a few whiffs but not like in past seasons. If they can keep getting a decent pass rush and not hanging out their defensive backs to cover for 10 seconds, I think this is gonna be an impressive unit this season.
IowaGopher: I feel like I’m just reiterating GoAUpher’s answers at this point, but I loved their tackling and the way they swarmed to the football. It’s obvious that this group feels much more comfortable on the field after Year 1 under defensive coordinator Robb Smith.
Ustreet: Gap fundamentals. With three notable exceptions, the defense didn’t make any obvious mistakes against a good football team.
wildcat00: They played much more assignment-sound in these two games than in almost any game last season. If they can maintain that focus and level of execution, watch out.
This is the part where we talk about Antoine Winfield, Jr.’s unbelievable game-saving interception in the end zone.
GoAUpher: Wait, you think I’m going to use words? Lololololno.
gopherguy05: Yeah, you will be seeing that replay over and over in Gopher lore for a while. Even more so if they can somehow go 8-4 rather than 5-7.
IowaGopher: I still don’t know how he made that play.
Ustreet: First off, shame on you for a talk about question. Second:
wildcat00: It was insane and the sort of miraculous thing that usually happens to the Gophers’ opponents. I’m here for more of this.