Joe Christensen covered Major League Baseball for 15 years, including three seasons at the Baltimore Sun and eight at the Star Tribune, before switching to the college football beat. He’s a Faribault, Minn., native who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1996. He covered Jim Wacker’s Gophers for the Minnesota Daily and also wrote about USC, UCLA and the Rose Bowl for the Riverside Press-Enterprise before getting this chance to cover football again.
Email Joe to talk about the Gophers.
Chanhassen offensive lineman Frank Ragnow confirmed today via text that he will be making his official visit with the Gophers this weekend.
Ragnow has offers from all over the country, including Florida State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Missouri, Vanderbilt and Arkansas, and has been labeled as one of the most important targets on Minnesota's board.
With Ragnow and Minneapolis Washburn running back Jeff Jones both on official visits, this becomes a critical recruiting weekend for the Gophers.
Minneapolis Washburn senior running back Jeff Jones will be making his official visit to the University of Minnesota on Friday, and he’ll arrive on the heels of some more good news.
Jones is one of four running backs who’ve been selected to play in the Under Armour All-American Game, Washburn coach Giovan Jenkins said, confirming a report by GopherIllustrated.com. That game is played in Tampa, Fla., on Jan. 2 , and televised by ESPN.
Jones rushed for 1,525 yards and 34 touchdowns this season, adding another eight touchdowns as a receiver. The four-star recruit gave a verbal commitment to the Gophers last February but has since said he’s keeping his options open until National Signing Day on Feb. 5.
For now, Jones has no other official visits planned, Jenkins said.
“I think he really likes the U,” Jenkins said. “The relationship he has with Coach [Jerry] Kill and Coach [Tracy] Claeys is second to none. No other staff has put in the kind of leg work they have.”
Gophers wide receiver Derrick Engel underwent surgery this week to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee and announced on Twitter that the surgery was a success.
Engel, a senior from Chaska, leads the Gophers with 25 receptions for 401 yards and five touchdowns. He suffered the injury in practice on Nov. 17, six days before the Wisconsin game.
The injury ended Engel's college career. He had walked on with the Gophers after transferring from Winona State and was put on scholarship this year.
On Tuesday, Engel tweeted (@D_Engel18): "Surgery was a success. Definitely more pain than I was expecting on day 1 tho. I thought this nerve block would be a lil stronger haha."
The Gophers football team hadn't been honored with a first-team All-Big Ten selection since Eric Decker in 2009. This year, they have two.
Big Ten coaches voted defensive tackle Ra'Shede Hageman and defensive back Brock Vereen onto the first-team all-conference list. Hageman also received first-team honors from the media, which made Vereen an honorable mention selection.
In addition, sophomore defensive end Theiren Cockran was named second-team All-Big Ten by the media.
Other honorable mention selections for the Gophers included guard Caleb Bak, punter Peter Mortell and cornerback Eric Murray (all coaches and media), linebacker Aaron Hill (coaches), tackle Josh Campion (media) and guard Zac Epping (media).
Here's a link to the Big Ten's release.
EAST LANSING, MICH. – Michigan State scored a touchdown on the first drive of each half Saturday and relied on one of the nation’s top defenses to do the rest in a 14-3 victory over the Gophers.
Minnesota reached the red zone three times, producing just three points, and has now played 10 consecutive quarters without playing an offensive touchdown.
Quarterback Philip Nelson left the game in the fourth quarter and did not return after being checked for a concussion. Mitch Leidner finished the game at quarterback for Minnesota. Gophers senior cornerback Brock Vereen left the game in the first quarter with a left arm injury and did not return.
Gophers coach Jerry Kill said he spoke to Nelson after the game, and the sophomore quarterback told him he was "OK." Kill declined to give injury updates.
"We have three or four guys banged up, but that’s part of football and hopefully we’ll get them all healed up," Kill said.
An announced crowd of 71,418 watched the Spartans (11-1, 8-0 in the Big Ten) tune up for next week’s conference championship game against Ohio State.
The Gophers (8-4, 4-4) will take a two-game losing streak into a bowl game to be determined. Much like last week’s 20-7 loss to Wisconsin, Minnesota showed signs of growth and toughness but simply couldn't score against a very tough defense.
The Spartans came in leading the nation in total defense (236.6 yards) and rushing defense (59.4 yards).
The Gophers actually held their own statistically, gaining 249 total yards and rushing for 125. David Cobb rushed 27 times for 101 yards.
But Nelson had a rough day even before taking the big hit, completing just six of 18 passes for 77 yards, with his first two interceptions since Sept. 28.
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