The Gophers knew they were going to learn more about sophomore offensive tackle Jonah Pirsig last Saturday when he squared off with Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa.
Bosa leads the Big Ten with 11 ½ sacks and 17 tackles for a loss.
The 6-9 Pirsig was making his fourth career start with Ben Lauer out because of a sprained ankle.
Bosa finished with 1 ½ sacks and 2 ½ tackles for loss, but otherwise the Gophers coaches thought Pirsig held his own.
“I felt like, especially against Iowa but really the last two weeks, that [Pirsig] played like a Big Ten offensive lineman,” offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover said.
Pirsig could get another test this week against Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory, a first-team All-Big Ten selection last year.
“[Pirsig’s] gained more and more confidence,” coach Jerry Kill said.
“And he should have a whole lot of confidence after playing that kid [Bosa]. That kid is a great football player.”
Cobb gets snubbed
Gophers senior David Cobb ranks seventh in the nation in rushing with 135 yards per game, but he didn’t make the list of 10 semifinalists for the Doak Walker Award, given annually to the nation’s top running back.
The list included three other Big Ten backs — Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon, Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah and Indiana’s Tevin Coleman — along with Miami’s Duke Johnson, Georgia Southern’s Matt Breida, Marshall’s Devon Johnson, Auburn’s Cameron Artis-Payne, Southern California’s Javorius Allen and Boise State’s Jay Ajayi.
“I will tell you, that will highly motivate that young man,” Kill said of Cobb, who has rushed for 1,350 yards and 11 touchdowns. “He’s played good, and he’ll get rewarded. He just needs to keep playing hard and playing well.”
Cobb will have a chance to match up against Abdullah and Gordon the next two weeks.
“It’s one of those moments that you wait for and you dream for, going against Abdullah and Gordon, two great backs that deserve to be on the list,” Cobb said.