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"I miss it," the former Gophers coach said of Minnesota and not being able to remain at Minnesota. "I could be helping that program a heck of a lot right now."
The Gophers have allowed five sacks this season, tied for fewest in the Big Ten with Nebraska. Saturday, the Gophers will face their biggest pass-protection challenge yet when they face Illinois.
Shannon Brooks delivered more eye-popping performances last season for the Gophers, but Rodney Smith has played the lead role this year, including Saturday with a 94-yard kickoff return.
With the Gophers heading to Illinois this week, coming off a near disaster against Rutgers, this might be a good time to review their last trip to Champaign.
The Scarlet Knights took a one-point lead with about four minutes remaining, but Gophers sophomore Emmit Carpenter hit a 28-yard field goal with six seconds left, giving Minnesota a 34-32 victory.
Rodney Smith gained most of the yardage on the drive, but Leidner hit Wolitarsky with a 9-yard pass for a first down and added an 8-yard rush. Emmit Carpenter's 28-yard field goal with six seconds remaining gave the Gophers a 34-32 win.
Three more Gophers football players have been served with restraining orders that would keep them from attending home games and will not play Saturday.
This will be the Gophers' 96th homecoming game. They are 56-36-3 all-time on homecoming, with wins the past two years (over Ohio in 2015 and Purdue in 2014).
Carlton Djam and Tamarion Johnson might not be allowed to attend Saturday's game because the alleged victim participates in the home-game operation.
Mitch Leidner returned to practice Tuesday, and was cleared for light activity. He had no setbacks when the intensity was ramped up at Wednesday's practice
Mitch Leidner practiced Tuesday for the first time since sustaining a concussion Oct. 8 but Gophers football coach Tracy Claeys said he expects Conor Rhoda to get the start Saturday.
Its play on Saturday was a step in the right direction, but there are still hurdles to be overcome. "Offensively, we still have some things to clean up," coach Tracy Claeys said.
Filling in for Mitch Leidner, Conor Rhoda proved he can run the offense effectively.
Backup quarterback Conor Rhoda did what the Gophers needed to earn their first Big Ten victory of the season, 31-10 over Maryland.
The Gophers introduced themselves to Maryland with authority on the opening kickoff.
Minnesota's next run of opponents, a combined 2-7 in the Big Ten, presents an opportunity for the Gophers to salvage their season. If they can manage a sweep.
Gophers defensive coordinator Jay Sawvel said the team has the cornerback and safety depth it needs heading into the Maryland game.
Blink and the top 10 will be flush with fresh arrivals.
The fourth-year junior remains mostly anonymous in college football circles, but that will change Saturday, when he makes his first career start at Maryland because Mitch Leidner suffered a concussion.
Gophers football coach Tracy Claeys dismissed concussion speculation for quarterback Mitch Leidner on Sunday but later learned the senior indeed is in the protocol and will miss this week's game.
After studying video, Claeys didn't sugarcoat the offense's performance against an Iowa team that had given up plenty of points in losses to North Dakota State and Northwestern.
Iowa limited the Gophers rushing attack to 102 yards and kept possession of the Floyd of Rosedale Trophy, winning for the fourth time in the past seven meetings in the rivalry.
The Gophers pass defense got a big boost Saturday with two of the team's top cornerbacks, KiAnte Hardin and Ray Buford, back from suspensions.
There's more at stake Saturday than Floyd of Rosedale, as the Gophers-Iowa loser might find its chances of a Big Ten West title all but gone.
Last season, the Gophers were among the nation's best teams at preventing big plays, but it's become a serious issue heading into Saturday's game against Iowa.
Rashad Still, who suffered a broken clavicle in the Sept. 1 season opener, has been practicing in a green non-contact jersey this week.
The Gophers are averaging 75.8 penalty yards per game, most in the Big Ten. It's an uncharacteristic spike for a team, and some bother their coach more than others.
Football coach Tracy Claeys suspended KiAnte Hardin, Ray Buford, Dior Johnson and Tamarion Johnson for a violation of team rules before the Sept. 10 game against Indiana State.
Dick Johnson was the father of coordinator Jay Johnson and Mitch Leidner's high school position coach.
Players have been suspended for violation of team rules since early September.
Penn State's Joey Julius was knocked down by Gophers linebacker Jaylen Waters, who kept the kicker pinned to the ground, drawing boos and an ejection.
The Nittany Lions rushed for a touchdown on the very first play from scrimmage after the Gophers kicker hit his fourth field goal of the game.
GOPHERS OFFENSE VS. Nittany Lions DEFENSEAll three of Penn State's starting linebackers missed the Michigan game with injuries. Middle LB Brandon Bell got ejected for…
Key for the Gophers in keeping the sophomore running back contained will be the play of undersized tackle Steven Richardson.
The next 10 days — with games at Penn State and home against Iowa — could set the tone for the Gophers fan base for the rest of the season.
The Gophers remain shorthanded at cornerback heading into Saturday's game at Penn State, with KiAnte Hardin and Ray Buford still suspended, and freshman Coney Durr out because of an unspecified injury.
Tai'yon Devers made another big hit to force another fumble Saturday, but the Gophers freshman sensation suffered a left ankle injury later in the game and didn't return.
With Shannon Brooks healthy, Rodney Smith continuing his roll and Mitch Leidner moving better than he has in two years, the Gophers used a potent running attack to defeat Colorado State 31-24 on Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium.
Next week, the Gophers open Big Ten play before 106,000 fans at Penn State. But first: a rematch with the Colorado State team that took Minnesota to overtime last fall.
The defending Big Ten champions open league play against the Badgers.
Tyler Johnson was a standout quarterback, defensive back and basketball guard at once-troubled Minneapolis North. He's made a seamless transition to receiver for the Gophers.
Gophers coach Tracy Claeys said he suspended KiAnte Hardin, Ray Buford, Dior Johnson and Tamarion Johnson for a violation of team rules. All four are part of a Minneapolis Police investigation.
Alleged pregame trash talk by Indiana State players and coaches inspired the Gophers to flex their Power 5 muscles in a big victory at TCF Bank Stadium.
Gophers left tackle Garrison Wright went to high school at one of Tracy Claeys' old rivals.
The Gophers had three players ejected for targeting in their season opener. Minnesota had only two targeting calls the previous four years, both overturned by replay.
Gophers football coach Tracy Claeys weighed the reward of icing Thursday night's game against the slim chance of the call backfiring.
Claeys said he was trying to avoid a scenario where Oregon State got the ball back with a chance to tie the score and force overtime.
The Gophers overcame upset-minded Oregon State - and three ejections - to win their season opener Thursday night despite trailing by six late in the third quarter.
Lakeville's Mitch Leidner opens his senior season Thursday night against Oregon State with a chance to shape a much grander ending to his Gophers career than quarterbacks before him.
Johnson was a standout quarterback and defensive back in high school, but he's been moved to wide receiver for the Gophers and will play right away as a freshman.
There's no such thing as a bad trip to the Rose Bowl, but Iowa's first visit since 1991 was humbling for the Hawkeyes and the entire Big Ten West.
There's no Ohio State or Michigan on the Gophers' football schedule. With the same quarterback, most top skill-position players and a similar defense, this theoretically should mean more wins.
On paper, the Gophers have a softer schedule, but careful of that finish
He's only a junior, but if Brandon Lingen can stay healthy, he looks ready to follow in the footsteps of former Gophers tight ends Maxx Williams, Matt Spaeth and Ben Utecht.
The sources said the university's internal investigation into Robinson's handling of the alleged use and sale of the prescription sedative Xanax by Gophers wrestlers is complete, with a report on the matter expected soon.
A mixed history with junior college transfers doesn't stop the U football team from leaning on them.
Mitch Leidner is the undisputed starting quarterback for the Gophers, but the backup spot remains a question nine days before the season opener.
Kill takes the high road in "Chasing Dreams: Living My Life One Yard at a Time," a book co-authored by Jim Bruton. The book will be released next month.
Rashad Still didn't start playing football until midway through high school, and sometimes for the Gophers receiver, this all still looks like a lark
Tracy Claeys took the delicate but necessary step Thursday of naming an acting linebackers coach, choosing Keith Jordan.
With Shannon Brooks injured and Rodney Smith resting, Kobe McCrary impressed coaches Saturday.
The team and family are keeping details of Mike Sherels' medical condition private. Players press forward, determined to honor their beloved assistant coach.
With Gophers football season ticket sales slumping, Athletic Director Mark Coyle has pulled the plug on a scheduled "scholarship seating" price increase for 2017.
Drew Wolitarsky was born and raised in Southern California, but his father's side of the family has deep Minnesota roots.
The Gophers have one of the top field-goal kickers in the Big Ten, and they are shifting him to punter.
Brooks missed practice because of a foot injury and was being re-evaluated. He made a brief appearance near the sideline and then continued receiving treatment.
The senior right tackle from Blue Earth entered Gophers training camp ready to raise his stock for the NFL draft -- and on board with a new team culture.
Gophers linebacker Cody Poock intercepted Mitch Leidner's pass and returned it 26 yards for a touchdown on the very first play of Saturday's full team drill. But things got better.
Dave Aranda flummoxed the Gophers with his deceptive blitzing strategies for three years as Wisconsin's defensive coordinator. But after taking a new job, he was open to helping a former rival.
Improvements in five categories will help determine whether the team meets the lofty goals espoused by coach Tracy Claeys, who is starting his first full season as head coach.
Amid his offseason preparation, Gophers football coach Tracy Claeys knew one sure way to stay centered. He returned to the place where he grew up as a quiet, industrious kid from a family that worked tirelessly to survive financially.
One day after the Gophers took their turn at Big Ten Media Days, their two border rivals were in the spotlight Tuesday, explaining their strengths and weaknesses.
Mitch Leidner remembers being in the weight room when he first heard he'd been projected as a first-round pick in a "Way-too-early 2017 NFL Mock Draft" by an ESPN analyst.
Big Ten media days start Monday in Chicago, and there will be heavy hearts after Nebraska punter Sam Foltz and former Michigan State punter Mike Sadler were killed in a car crash Saturday.
"Easier" schedule fails to inspire confidence: team picked to finish 5th in West in preseason poll.
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