Ready to move on from the Minnesota Golden Gophers’ 28-21 season-opening win over the South Dakota State Jackrabbits? So are we.
But before we do, our final thoughts in the first postgame exit survey of the season.
What is your Tweet-length (280 characters or less) summary of the Gophers’ 28-21 victory over South Dakota State?
GoAUpher: *as always my answer is a haiku*
What the hell was that?
Let's not do that again please.
No more F-C-S.
gopherguy05: Yeesh. Oof. Yuck. Oy. 1-0.
IowaGopher: The Minnesota Golden Gophers are 1-0. Moving on.
I think we can all agree on Rashod Bateman as the consensus “Nekton of the Week” from the game. Here is that catch again, because we could all use the positivity.
Okay, back to Negative Town. What’s the opposite of a Nekton? I don’t know. Who is your Not-A-Nekton of the Week from the game?
GoAUpher: The entire offensive because the heck was that push, y'all?
gopherguy05: Man... That’s a tough choice. Curtis Dunlap is high on my list. Kamal Martin for being suspended is there too because the trio of sophomore linebackers did NOT look ready for prime time.
IowaGopher: I’m going to go with Kamal Martin. As bad as the offensive line played, at least they were on the field competing, which is more than I can say for Martin. Let’s hope this suspension — and the reasons for it — are behind him, because his team needs him.
Ustreet: It is never fair to single out one player, but I suspect that Curtis Dunlap will be happy to have that game on film as a teaching tool for the rest of the season.
Neither of the coordinators had an especially good game. Which one — Kirk Ciarrocca or Joe Rossi — drew more of your ire?
GoAUpher: Kirk. If you're gonna go full Kent State Protocol please be better at it than this.
gopherguy05: I’ll go Ciarrocca. I suspect it was 100% intentional to go with an incredibly bland offensive game plan, but the team failed at doing that for a majority of the time. But man... You need to do the easy stuff right before you can do the hard stuff.
IowaGopher: Ciarrocca. I understand why Tyler Johnson had a quiet night, because it can be difficult to get him open in double coverage, but Rashod Bateman not having a single reception in the second half is offensive coordinator malpractice.
Ustreet: KC. Rossi had to prepare for a brand new offense.
There are problems galore. What is the problem you’re most confident can and will be fixed? And what is the problem that may keep you up at night?
GoAUpher: Pick one. Don't care which one. Fix it.
gopherguy05: I think the linebacker play. Get Kamal back and suddenly that spot is a lot better. Let the sophomore trio learn in back-up roles for another season.
As for concerns? Both the offensive and defensive lines looked lost at times. They may just need time to gel, but if they don’t get significantly better fast it could be a long Big Ten season.
IowaGopher: I think the offensive line will gel as the season goes along. It’s just a matter of how long that takes. The drop-off behind Thomas Barber and Kamal Martin at linebacker is a huge red flag for me. Those two are suddenly indispensable. Jordan Howden took his lumps early last season at safety before settling in — and even led the Gophers in tackles on Thursday night — but I hope for the sake of Thomas Rush, Mariano Sori-Marin, and Braelen Oliver that they are not forced to follow a similar path.
Ustreet: Kick coverage will be the easiest to fix. To play into the conceit of the question, the offensive line communication on stunts will be the problem that makes me nervous for the rest of the season. [Editor’s Note: Please don’t talk about the conceits of my questions.]
Let’s not forget that the Gophers won. This was a win. If you had to talk a Gopher fan off the ledge after this game, what would you tell them?
GoAUpher: I guarantee Purdue fans were happier for longer during their game than Minnesota fans ever were during ours. Guess what, though? That's long gone. Why? They lost. Winning is a always better. Relax, enjoy your weekend. Move on.
gopherguy05: We aren’t going to be competing for style points to get us a higher College Football Playoff ranking, most likely. Just keep racking up the Ws and we will be okay. Also, it’s a holiday weekend. Feel free to take an extra day to drink out your feelings.
IowaGopher: Iowa State, a ranked team, needed overtime on Saturday to beat FCS Northern Iowa, a team that defeated South Dakota State handily last season. And I can guarantee Cyclones fans are going to breathe a sigh of relief, hope for improvement, and move on. Gopher fans should do the same.
Ustreet: Never in doubt.