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Joe Christensen

Gophers football reporter | Gophers, Big Ten
phone: 612-673-7844
Joe Christensen covered Major League Baseball for 15 years, including three 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.
Recent content from Joe Christensen
Media peg Gophers for third in Big Ten West

Media peg Gophers for third in Big Ten West

The media picked Wisconsin as the favorite to win the Big Ten West Division on Monday, and Gophers football coach Jerry Kill didn’t disagree.
Gophers recruit Garcia transferring from East Ridge; won't play football

Gophers recruit Garcia transferring from East Ridge; won't play football

Jojo Garcia, a top lineman who’s committed to play for the Gophers, is transferring from East Ridge to Simley for his senior year. He was deemed ineligible to play because of a dispute over his residence.
Lingering concussion effects force Kessel to end Gophers' career

Lingering concussion effects force Kessel to end Gophers' career

Amanda Kessel’s electrifying career with the Gophers women’s hockey team officially has ended because of lingering concussion effects from her time playing for the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team.
Visiting the border, Chryst strikes new tone with Badgers football

Visiting the border, Chryst strikes new tone with Badgers football

The more polished Paul Chryst will add his own spin to the Big Ten football contenders at Wisconsin.
U pushes back start of facilities project

U pushes back start of facilities project

The school said pushing the vote back won’t delay the project’s completion date.
Gophers football on an offseason winning streak

Gophers football on an offseason winning streak

The Gophers have continued to build recruiting momentum since March, when Eden Prairie linebacker Carter Coughlin picked them over offers from Ohio State and Oregon, the teams that played for last season’s national title.
College athletes feel the Twitter love (and hate)

College athletes feel the Twitter love (and hate)

Twitter's 302 million users allow vitriol to hit people in an ugly place that’s hard to avoid, especially for this phone-clutching generation of college athletes.
Gophers' grades in annual NCAA report continue to improve

Gophers' grades in annual NCAA report continue to improve

In the latest report, released Wednesday, all 25 Gophers teams cleared the score required to avoid penalties, and 19 teams showed improvement.
Gophers lineman fills a hole in the classroom, too

Gophers lineman fills a hole in the classroom, too

Jonah Pirsig spends fall Saturdays using his 320-pound body to shield the Gophers’ backfield from danger. But on a recent morning, that same huge force of nature came strolling into Edina Highlands Elementary, wearing a sweater, jeans and boat shoes..
Big Ten: Freshman ineligibility idea just the start

Big Ten: Freshman ineligibility idea just the start

Jim Delany’s idea of making freshmen ineligible in football and men’s basketball has drawn plenty of attention and scorn.
U to break ground on athletic village in August

U to break ground on athletic village in August

The school has raised $70 million of its $150 million goal, with more gains expected soon.
Bobby Bell a Gophers grad, 56 years later

Bobby Bell a Gophers grad, 56 years later

By earning his degree, Gophers football legend Bobby Bell is fulfilling a promise to his father.
Former Gophers running back rolls with NFL draft punches

Former Gophers running back rolls with NFL draft punches

Many draft analysts say David Cobb is an underrated prospect.
Prime time: Get ready for Saturday night Gophers football

Prime time: Get ready for Saturday night Gophers football

Last year, Minnesota had six consecutive 11 a.m. kickoffs. But this fall, the Gophers are expected to play at least four primetime games.
Seven weeks after injury, ex-Gopher Cobb has pro day

Seven weeks after injury, ex-Gopher Cobb has pro day

Former Gophers running back David Cobb held his own pro day Monday, and about 17 teams, including the Vikings, were on hand to watch.
Gophers unveil few new tricks at spring game

Gophers unveil few new tricks at spring game

Even with a genuine buzz Saturday in front of an estimated 10,100 fans for the spring game, Gophers coach Jerry Kill was careful not to reveal too much.
Gophers install quick-pass, no-huddle attack for diversity

Gophers install quick-pass, no-huddle attack for diversity

The Gophers have spent spring camp working almost exclusively on a no-huddle attack. They’ve sped up the pace and worked more on short, quick-passing routes
Former Washburn star Jones emerging as top receiver for Gophers

Former Washburn star Jones emerging as top receiver for Gophers

After coming to campus as a highly touted running back recruit, Jeff Jones appears to have found a new niche.
Gophers' Kill gets point across after offense struggles

Gophers' Kill gets point across after offense struggles

Gophers quarterback Mitch Leidner was so frustrated after a play toward the end of Tuesday’s practice, he heaved the football downfield in disgust. Coach…
Pals from Georgia together again with Gophers football

Pals from Georgia together again with Gophers football

Jonathan Celestin and Rodney Smith graduated high school together last year and were unheralded additions to the Gophers’ 2014 recruiting class. Each could fill a key role this fall
Gophers playing RB Jones at slotback frequently to fill need

Gophers playing RB Jones at slotback frequently to fill need

The Gophers’ use of Jeff Jones at wide receiver this spring appears more than just an experiment.
A big opportunity with Gophers for running back Williams

A big opportunity with Gophers for running back Williams

Gophers running back Rodrick Williams lost his spot to David Cobb, and then lost weight to win it back.
Gophers' freshman Jones showing promise at slotback, too

Gophers' freshman Jones showing promise at slotback, too

On Thursday, the Gophers' coaching staff gave running back Jeff Jones an extensive look at slot receiver as a secondary position for him.
Leidner getting tips from new Gophers assistant Adam Weber

Leidner getting tips from new Gophers assistant Adam Weber

Adam Weber is the Gophers' all-time passing leader, and now he’s working hand-in-hand with quarterbacks coach Jim Zebrowski as a graduate assistant.
Old result, new twist: Gophers win national title, cut down the net

Old result, new twist: Gophers win national title, cut down the net

After beating Harvard for their third NCAA women's hockey title in four years, the Gophers added something new to their postgame celebration.
Gophers women's hockey returns most of its core for next season

Gophers women's hockey returns most of its core for next season

After celebrating its third NCAA championship in four years Sunday, the Gophers women’s hockey team will open next season as one of the favorites to win it all again.
After upset last season, Gophers seniors aching for third title

After upset last season, Gophers seniors aching for third title

The Gophers remember the pain of losing in the title game a year ago.
Gophers' Brandt playing against familiar opposing coach

Gophers' Brandt playing against familiar opposing coach

Hannah Brandt was one of the early cuts from the U.S. Olympic team in June 2013. The coach was Harvard’s Katey Stone.
Gophers earn another chance at Women's Frozen Four title

Gophers earn another chance at Women's Frozen Four title

The Gophers reeled off three quick second period goals and got 34 saves from junior goaltender Amanda Leveille for a 3-1 victory before a sellout crowd at Ridder Arena.
Long established, women's college hockey fights for audience

Long established, women's college hockey fights for audience

Established as an NCAA varsity sport 15 years ago, women's hockey struggles with securing a steady audience, even if Ridder Arena is sold out this weekend.
Gophers breeze into women's Frozen Four with win over RIT

Gophers breeze into women's Frozen Four with win over RIT

The Gophers shook off two major penalties to still win 6-2 and advance to next week’s Frozen Four at Ridder Arena.
Rachel Ramsey carving her own niche off the ice

Rachel Ramsey carving her own niche off the ice

Rachel Ramsey, the daughter of an ex-NHL star, is ready for a change.
Eden Prairie LB Coughlin picks Gophers over Ohio State, Oregon

Eden Prairie LB Coughlin picks Gophers over Ohio State, Oregon

Jerry Kill has landed a big in-state victory.
Gophers' Ekpe now gets a chance to give other guys headaches

Gophers' Ekpe now gets a chance to give other guys headaches

After a health setback, he’s making an impression.
Gophers football trying no-huddle offense in its infancy

Gophers football trying no-huddle offense in its infancy

After holding two spring football practices behind closed doors, the Gophers invited the public Saturday and revealed a no-huddle offense.
Gophers' next goal: Win fourth straight WCHA women's title

Gophers' next goal: Win fourth straight WCHA women's title

Winning a fourth consecutive WCHA tournament would add to the Gophers’ legacy.
Gophers begin football drills with a spring in their step

Gophers begin football drills with a spring in their step

After the team’s first official spring practice, quarterback Mitch Leidner sounded as if he wished the Sept. 3 season opener against TCU were coming this weekend.
Race to replace Gophers' top rusher begins in spring practice

Race to replace Gophers' top rusher begins in spring practice

David Cobb rewrote the Gophers’ record book, but now he’s NFL-bound. Will Rodney Smith be up next?
Botticelli among Gophers trying to make an impression

Botticelli among Gophers trying to make an impression

The defensive tackle will work with other U players for scouts during the Gophers’ pro day.
Kill convinced facilities project will break ground in August

Kill convinced facilities project will break ground in August

Jerry Kill continues to have full confidence that the University of Minnesota will be ready to break ground on its new $150 million athletic…
Gophers officials 'thrilled' with facilities fundraising so far

Gophers officials 'thrilled' with facilities fundraising so far

Officials reiterate that the university hopes to break ground on $150 million project by summer’s end.
University's athletics project start date could be delayed

University's athletics project start date could be delayed

If construction is to begin on the athletics village this fall, the fundraising pace must pick up. University CFO Richard Pfutzenreuter said it's a "big hill to climb."
Gophers football extends its recruiting reach

Gophers football extends its recruiting reach

Seeking more length and speed for this year's recruiting class, Gophers coaches looked far and wide for the 24 athletes who signed their national letters of intent Wednesday.
Gophers' QB recruit Croft has 'five-star potential'

Gophers' QB recruit Croft has 'five-star potential'

“He could be the guy that could lead [Minnesota] to a Big Ten championship someday,” said Tom Lemming, a recruiting analyst for CBS Sports Network. “He’s a four-star quarterback with five-star potential."
Gophers' football recruits have growth potential

Gophers' football recruits have growth potential

Jerry Kill’s fifth class is all three-star recruits. Now all he and his coaching staff have to do is turn them into overachievers
U running back recruit could be a Canadian diamond in the rough

U running back recruit could be a Canadian diamond in the rough

A few weeks after committing to the Gophers last summer, Canadian running back Jonathan Femi-Cole added a lasting memory to one of his typical eight-hour daily workouts.
Football, basketball, 'Excellence Center' move to front of U project

Football, basketball, 'Excellence Center' move to front of U project

The University of Minnesota has begun shopping for a construction company to build its new athletics facilities village, and the latest project budget is $150 million, down from $190 million. Construction is slated to begin this fall.

Three Gophers football players transfer

Three former three-star recruits have transferred from the Gophers football program this month, all of them in search of more playing time.
Big Ten football 2015: A fascinating fall ahead

Big Ten football 2015: A fascinating fall ahead

An early, early outlook at what is shaping up to be a fascinating fall for Big Ten football ... several months from now.
Gophers looking ahead to fall football, but have holes to fill

Gophers looking ahead to fall football, but have holes to fill

The Gophers of 2015 will lose some stars but are confident about their returnees.
Leidner shows signs of improvement in Citrus Bowl loss

Leidner shows signs of improvement in Citrus Bowl loss

Mitch Leidner had completed just 37 percent of his passes in the final three regular season games. He passed for a career-high 258 yards in the Citrus Bowl.
Gophers TE Williams decides it's 'the right time' for NFL dreams

Gophers TE Williams decides it's 'the right time' for NFL dreams

Gophers All-America tight end Maxx Williams ended what little suspense remained Friday, announcing that he’ll leave college early to enter the NFL draft.
New Year's Day bowl ends with familiar losing feeling for Gophers

New Year's Day bowl ends with familiar losing feeling for Gophers

Crucial mistakes turned the excitement of playing Jan. 1 into just another bowl game loss as the Gophers fell to Missouri in the Citrus Bowl.
Despite loss, Gophers have much praise for Leidner

Despite loss, Gophers have much praise for Leidner

The Gophers had a lot to lament after Thursday’s 33-17 Citrus Bowl performance against Missouri. Mitch Leidner’s performance wasn’t one of them.
New Year's trip to Orlando a golden moment for Gophers fans

New Year's trip to Orlando a golden moment for Gophers fans

When your team hasn’t played a Jan. 1 bowl game in 53 years, sleep is overrated, said fans who drove through the night to make the game.
Gophers' Santoso at home in Florida

Gophers' Santoso at home in Florida

Placekicker Ryan Santoso is one of 13 Gophers back in his home state.
The Call: Gophers vs. Missouri in the Citrus Bowl

The Call: Gophers vs. Missouri in the Citrus Bowl

noon, orlando • TV: ch. 5 (100.3-fm, 1130-am)Line: Missouri by 4½ • Series: Missouri leads 4-3-1 • Surface: Artificial turf24gophers23missourijoe’s predictionBoth coaching…
Will New Year's Day bowl be Gophers' peak or an annual stop?

Will New Year's Day bowl be Gophers' peak or an annual stop?

Finally, on a day more than a half-century in the making, the Gophers are ready for some New Year’s football.
Gophers kickers beware: Don't mess with Mizzou's Murphy

Gophers kickers beware: Don't mess with Mizzou's Murphy

ORLANDO – One year after a long punt return helped cost them a bowl victory, the Gophers will face one of the top returners…
U's Leidner tries to beat the tweets

U's Leidner tries to beat the tweets

Quarterback Mitch Leidner, his own worst critic, ignores social media jabs.

Buffalo Wild Wings landing Gophers in Citrus Bowl was coincidence

ORLANDO – Buffalo Wild Wings is headquartered in Minneapolis. This is the first year the company has sponsored the Citrus Bowl, and the Gophers…

Citrus Bowl focus keeps U party plans on hold

For the first time since Dec. 31, 1961, a Gophers football team will be spending New Year’s Eve getting ready for a bowl game. With a noon kickoff Thursday for the Citrus Bowl, players aren’t too concerned about watching the ball drop.
Gophers preach less fun, more focus for Citrus Bowl

Gophers preach less fun, more focus for Citrus Bowl

A year has passed. The Gophers feel they can admit it now. They lacked focus last December getting ready for the Texas Bowl and were upset by Syracuse.
Gophers lineman Botticelli thrives with new families (Nov. 27)

Gophers lineman Botticelli thrives with new families (Nov. 27)

Cameron Botticelli bloomed with second chances on and off field.

Kill says dismissal of Jones won't be a distraction

ORLANDO – Gophers coach Jerry Kill on Monday downplayed the impact of dismissing wide receiver Donovahn Jones, saying it hasn’t been a distraction in…
Receiver Jones' dismissal adds to Gophers Citrus Bowl challenge

Receiver Jones' dismissal adds to Gophers Citrus Bowl challenge

With the Gophers preparing to play Missouri in Thursday’s Citrus Bowl, Donovahn Jones was kicked off the team for an unspecified violation of team rules.
Gophers football notes: Thompson credits ankle surgeries for his better speed

Gophers football notes: Thompson credits ankle surgeries for his better speed

Cedric Thompson has recovered nicely from surgery on both ankles prior to this season.
Gophers' Campbell and former juco roommate reconnect in Orlando

Gophers' Campbell and former juco roommate reconnect in Orlando

Gophers linebacker De’Vondre Campbell's freshman year roommate at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College was Markus Golden, now a senior defensive end for Missouri. They'll meet in the Citrus Bowl.
Gophers push the right buttons for underprivileged kids at Disney

Gophers push the right buttons for underprivileged kids at Disney

The Citrus Bowl invited Gophers and Missouri players to hang out with a group of underprivileged children from Orlando at DisneyQuest, an indoor interactive theme park.
Jeff Jones cleared for Gophers' spring practice

Jeff Jones cleared for Gophers' spring practice

Gophers running back Jeff Jones posted high enough grades during fall semester to be eligible for spring practice, coach Jerry Kill confirmed Friday.
Gophers enjoy tropical blend in prep for Missouri

Gophers enjoy tropical blend in prep for Missouri

Gophers strive for a mix of work and fun during practice in Florida.
Cobb's refusal to quit will be his Gophers legacy

Cobb's refusal to quit will be his Gophers legacy

David Cobb was packing up his apartment this month, a senior sorting through memories, when he came across a letter his mother wrote him when he first got to college.
Seven plays that paved the Gophers' road to Orlando

Seven plays that paved the Gophers' road to Orlando

A look back at the plays that defined the Gophers’ regular season.
Gophers elect to wait to travel for Citrus Bowl

Gophers elect to wait to travel for Citrus Bowl

After talking to other team’s coaches about their bowl experiences and discussing the options with several players, Jerry Kill chose to wait until Christmas Day to fly to Orlando.
Gophers tight end Williams won't talk about entering NFL draft

Gophers tight end Williams won't talk about entering NFL draft

Maxx Williams made it clear Wednesday he doesn’t want to talk about his NFL future publicly until after the Citrus Bowl.
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