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Megan Ryan

Reporter | College sports
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Megan Ryan is a sports reporter at the Star Tribune covering colleges.


Ryan covered the Minnesota United FC during its first two years of existence. She previously spent two years at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette covering Penn State football, Robert Morris basketball and high school sports. A Minnesota native and Minneapolis resident, she graduated magna cum laude from the University of Minnesota with a major in journalism and minors in management and global studies. She has lived in Pennsylvania, Texas (covering the real Friday Night Lights for the Dallas Morning News) and New York (as a sports copy editor for a summer through the Dow Jones News Fund).
Recent content from Megan Ryan
Gophers defensive back Antoine Winfield Jr. celebrated his fourth quarter touchdown on a pick-6 against Rutgers.

Two cheers: O'Brien makes emotional debut as Gophers roll Rutgers 42-7

Four-time cancer survivor Casey O'Brien made his first on-field appearance for the Gophers, who had little trouble Saturday moving to 7-0 and into first place in the Big Ten West.
Gophers coach P.J. Fleck checked on Kamal Martin after the standout linebacker suffered what the team called a lower leg injury in the third quarter S

Martin suffers lower leg injury in Gophers win, will have more tests

Kamal Martin buckled just before contact on a third-quarter play and needed help limping off the field in the Gophers' 42-7 victory at Rutgers on Saturday.
Gophers-Rutgers gameday preview

Gophers-Rutgers gameday preview

The Gophers are 28-point favorites in this game. They haven't had that big of an advantage since playing South Dakota State in 2010.
Gophers tight end Jake Paulson ran the ball against the defense of Fresno State defensive back Wylan Free

Beyond the stars: 6-0 Gophers getting big help throughout roster

Unheralded blockers and special teams performers might not get much credit from the average fan, but coaches and their teammates know and appreciate their efforts.
The Gophers' Sam Renner tackled Nebraska quarterback Noah Vedral during Saturday night's game. Renner, a senior defensive tackle and former walk-on fr

Undersized Renner is 'unsung hero' of Gophers defensive line

Sam Renner has risen from wait-listed walk-on to a starter on the defensive line who can handle a variety of tasks as needed by the Gophers.
Gophers tight ends Jake Paulson (80) and Ko Kieft are banged up from injuries suffered against Nebraska last Saturday.

Gophers tight ends are dinged up

That unit endured some problems last Saturday against Nebraska, when Jake Paulson and Ko Kieft left early because of injuries.
Right guard Curtis Dunlap Jr. (51) cleared a path for Gophers running back Rodney Smith, taking a handoff from quarterback Tanner Morgan against Nebra

Position of strength: Fleck has nice problem on Gophers offensive line

The offensive line, which struggled early in the season, is coming off its two strongest games in which the Gophers scored 40 points against Purdue and 34 more vs. Nebraska.
The Gophers, led by head coach P.J. Fleck, took the field before Saturday night's game against Nebraska.

Is it worth it? No. 20-ranked Gophers answer Fleck with 6-0 start

The Gophers are 6-0 and ranked 20th, their first AP ranking since 2014, and that makes the coach's question an easy one.
Gophers wide receiver Rashod Bateman (13) and quarterback Tanner Morgan (2) rushed to join a celebration with running back Mohamed Ibrahim after he sc

Gophers trample Nebraska 34-7 to remain undefeated at 6-0

Mohamed Ibrahim ran for three touchdowns, part of Minnesota's 322 rushing yards against the injury-riddled Cornhuskers.
Gophers defensive back Chris Williamson tackled Cornhuskers quarterback Noah Vedral for a loss of yards in the first half. Vedral was starting for the

Gophers face another backup quarterback

The Gophers have yet to face an established quarterback for an entire game. Against the Cornhuskers, they matched up with Noah Vedral, who started in place of injured Adrian Martinez.
Gophers sophomore cornerback Benjamin St-Juste, a transfer from Michigan who hails from Quebec, has become a difference maker in the secondary.

Gophers land hidden Canadian gem in Michigan transfer St-Juste

Québécois cornerback Benjamin St-Juste found his way to the Gophers via Big Ten rival Wolverines
Shannon Brooks, left, and Rodney Smith are both redshirt seniors for the Gophers this season.

Still running: Gophers' Smith, Brooks show the kids how it's done

The best may be yet to come for Gophers redshirt seniors Shannon Brooks and Rodney Smith, who have been with each other on the college journey.
Coach P.J. Fleck had done everything short of renting a snow machine and giant fans to prepare the Gophers for a potentially chilly football game Satu

Gophers prepare for chilly, wet game against Cornhuskers on Saturday

"We love it when it's cold," quarterback Tanner Morgan said.
Gophers senior linebacker Kamal Martin has shown NFL potential even without playing in two games this year because of suspension and injury.

Gophers defense goes into Nebraska game with budding confidence

Last week the Gophers held Illinois to just 91 rushing yards and 248 total yards of offense.
Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez might not be available to play against the Gophers on Saturday after suffering a lower leg injury that forced him

Nebraska joins list of Gophers opponents with QB injury situations

Cornhuskers quarterback Adrian Martinez is questionable for Saturday's game at TCF Bank Stadium.
The Gophers’ outlook on the future is far less restrained than the emotion Shannon Brooks displayed after picking up a first down against Illinois.

Gophers are 5-0 but not projecting too far ahead on the schedule

It's the first time since 2004 the Gophers have started a season with five wins. And that streak could grow with a favorable schedule ahead.
Gophers defensive back Benjamin St-Juste used a reach advantage to break up a pass intended for Illinois’ Ricky Smalling.

Ibrahim sits out again in Gophers' victory over Illini

For the third consecutive game, Gophers sophomore running back Mohamed Ibrahim warmed up in full pads, only to not play.
Gophers running back Rodney Smith broke free for a first down, on a modest gain by Saturday’s standards.

Gophers stay perfect, steamroll their way to 40-17 rout over Illinois

Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks on Saturday moved the ball for a combined 322 yards and the Gophers moved to 5-0 on the season with Saturday's Homecoming victory.
Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan has always confronted doubts about his size, but his 4-0 start this season has quieted those concerns.

Gophers QB Morgan defying doubters in a big way

Even with praise and records and awards raining down upon him after last week's game at Purdue, Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan believes he can be better.
Illinois running back Reggie Corbin rushed for 213 yards against the Gophers last season. That loss led to major changes on defense.

Lopsided loss to Illinois last year led to major Gophers shake-up

The 55-31 drubbing to the team that finished last in the Big Ten West last season will not be a treasured memory. But it created lasting change.
Gophers linebacker and former Eden Prairie star Carter Coughlin has been hampered by injuries this season, but he's starting to feel better.

Gophers' Coughlin plays through injuries, gets healthier

After playing against Purdue, linebacker Carter Coughlin said for the first time this season he finished a game without feeling like he had endured an injury setback.
Purdue running back King Doerue (22) cut away from Gophers cornerback Chris Williamson (6) during Minnesota’s 38-31 victory Saturday.

Unbeaten but imperfect: Gophers know there's still lots to clean up

Even though football is a team game, individual players may need to look inward and ponder one of coach P.J. Fleck's favorite sayings: 'Change your best.'
Gophers wide receiver Rashod Bateman makes a catch in front of Purdue cornerback Dedrick Mackey on his way to a touchdown during the second half Satur

Gophers football success hasn't erased skepticism from Big Ten foes

Opening the Big Ten season with a victory "sets the bar high for us," receiver Rashod Bateman said.
Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan (2) throws against Purdue during the first half of an NCAA college football game in West Lafayette, Ind., Saturday

Riled-up Gophers hang on to beat Purdue in Big Ten opener

Bulletin-board material propelled the Gophers to a 21-point lead, and they withstood a Boilermakers' rally to win 38-31 and improve to 4-0 on the season.
Purdue quarterback Jack Plummer

Gophers defense lags as offense drives the show

Purdue freshman Jack Plummer made it tough on the Gophers, guiding the Boilermakers to 414 yards of offense in a losing effort.
With QB Tanner Morgan running the offense, the Gophers average nearly 33 points a game.

Gophers showing strength on late downs, sustaining drives

The Gophers rank 13th of 130 FBS teams on third downs, converting 52.4% of them. On fourth downs, they're tied for 27th at 75%.
Purdue’s star receiver, Rondale Moore, will likely give the top Gophers cornerback, Chris Williamson, all he can handle on Saturday.

Undefeated Gophers travel to Purdue for Big Ten opener

A look at Saturday's game, with matchups and a prediction.
Teammates celebrated with Gophers junior Seth Green (17) after his rushing touchdown Aug. 29 against South Dakota State.

Green relishing position changes with Gophers

From tight end to wide receiver to wildcat quarterback, Seth Green has done it all.

Fleck looking at options to improve offensive line play

The Gophers rank among the worst teams in the nation in yards per carry and the offensive line yielded 11 quarterback sacks in the team's three nonconference victories.
Gophers coach P.J. Fleck walked off the TCF Bank Stadium field with Antoine Winfield Jr. (11) and Chris Williamson (6) after the team’s comeback ove

'A powerful picture': Fleck turns key rally into keepsake

P.J. Fleck had a picture made of a third-down play from September 14th, saying it "shows what type of team we have."
Shannon Brooks took a handoff from Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan during training camp last month.

Brooks ready for 2019 Gophers debut Saturday at Purdue

Running back Shannon Brooks tore a left knee ligament before spring practice in 2018 and made then played in one game that before suffering a right knee injury.
The next time coach P.J. Fleck and the Gophers take the field will be on Sept. 28 at Purdue.

Fleck: Gophers happy to be 3-0 but bye week came 'at perfect time'

The Gophers survived the nonconference season but barely. Going into a week off with the Big Ten opener at Purdue looming Sept. 28 and not having a dominant performance in their 3-0 start isn't exactly comforting
Gophers freshman running back Cam Wiley (3) got his first carries of the season in Saturday’s 35-32 win over Georgia Southern.

Fleck, Gophers busy 'self-scouting' during bye week before Purdue game

The main reason their three victories have been by narrow margins so far this season has been self-inflicted errors, such as turnovers and penalties.
Gophers wide receiver Tyler Johnson pulled down a touchdown catch to put the Gophers back in the lead with 13 seconds left in the fourth quarter as he

Tyler time: Gophers use Johnson's 3 TDs to squeeze by Georgia Southern

Georgia Southern took a fourth-quarter lead at TCF Bank Stadium before the Gophers answered to win in the final seconds thanks to Tyler Johnson's third touchdown of the game.
Gophers running back Cam Wiley was tackled by Georgia Southern linebacker Randy Wade Jr. in the first quarter.

Injuries dictate playing time for Gophers running backs

The Gophers have touted their running back depth all season, and they needed all of it Saturday.
Tai’yon Devers knocked the helmet and the football from Colorado State quarterback Collin Hill in 2016, when Devers was a freshman for the Gophers.

Devers giving Gophers a blast from the past this season

Tai'yon Devers has been quiet on the field since a big freshman impact in 2016.
Nebraska coach Scott Frost

Gophers have survived two close calls, while others stumbled

The Gophers aren't the only football team that has shown flaws so far in the nonconference slate, but least they have the luxury of a still-unmarred record. Nebraska and Tennessee are among the teams not so fortunate.
Gophers safety Antoine Winfield Jr. (11) celebrated after forcing a fourth down in Saturday’s 38-35, double-overtime victory over Fresno State.

Just like Dad: U's Winfield picked up pick-off skills from tapes of father

Gophers defensive back Antoine Winfield Jr. started studying his father's cornerback game film at a young age, which helped cultivate an ability to make instinctual plays.
Gophers coach P.J. Fleck watched his team from the sideline in the first half of Saturday night’s double-overtime win at Fresno State.

Fleck: only one Gophers penalty vs. Fresno State was undisciplined

Gophers football coach P.J. Fleck acknowledged there were numerous errors the team needs to 'clean up.'
Gophers running back Shannon Brook took a handoff from quarterback Tanner Morgan during training camp last month.

Without touching the ball, Brooks plays role for U in Fresno State win

Shannon Brooks successfully stared down four Fresno State players all alone in his season debut on Saturday night. Why did coach P.J. Fleck send him on a solo mission?
Gophers wide receiver Chris Autman-Bell made a touchdown catch with less than a minute left in the fourth quarter to tie the game while being defended

Drama after dark: Late catch, overtime INT seals Gophers victory over Fresno State

A nimble fourth-down catch by Chris Autman-Bell gave the Gophers life on the road to set up overtime, and a game-sealing interception by Antoine Winfield Jr. pushed Minnesota to 2-0 on the season.
Gophers linebacker Carter Coughlin sacked Fresno State quarterback Jorge Reyna in the second quarter.

Gophers' Coughlin ready to roll after question about availability

Defensive end Carter Coughlin on Saturday participated in all the warmups. But fellow senior Tai'yon Devers took the first rep at the rush end position with the first team before Coughlin cycled into the unit.
Gophers receiver Rashod Bateman joked with teammates after their 28-21 win over South Dakota State in last week’s season opener.

Bateman hoists the Gophers, while honoring a father figure

Rashod Bateman grieved the loss of an uncle during training camp but found his focus when the Gophers needed him most.
Antoine Winfield Jr. pressured South Dakota State quarterback J’Bore Gibbs into throwing an interception last week.

Winfield seeking more game-turning plays for Gophers

Antoine Winfield Jr. is understandably thrilled to be playing again after suffering back-to-back season-ending injuries.
Gophers vs. Fresno State: What to watch for

Gophers vs. Fresno State: What to watch for

Gophers coach P.J. Fleck said he thinks Bulldogs senior Jared Rice is an NFL-caliber tight end.
Gophers senior Rodney Smith dyed his hair with a strip of red before last week’s game against South Dakota State.

Gophers running back Smith finds old form and a new hairstyle

Rodney Smith started looking like his old self last week in the win over South Dakota State and aims for more against Fresno State.
Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan passed for a first down in the second quarter of Thursday’s 28-21 victory over South Dakota State.

Morgan gives Gophers something to build on heading to Fresno State

Gophers sophomore quarterback Tanner Morgan learned from an interception and otherwise made good choices in the season opener.
Gophers safety Antoine Winfield Jr. hit South Dakota State quarterback J’Bore Gibbs on the pass Chris Williamson intercepteed for a touchdown last T

Gophers realize less is more after shaky opener

P.J. Fleck's film review session tried to show his players how there is a fine line between playing with an edge and being overzealous.
P.J. Fleck said of Batman — or at least, the Christian Bale version from Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” — “He always does the rig

Fleck: Gophers can learn some lessons from Batman

The Gophers coach traced a path from the old Batman comic books to the movie character played by Christian Bale, and came up with a comparison that he thinks could apply to his team.
Gophers sophomore receiver Demetrius Douglas has a keen interest in and skill at photography, as this shot of the Sky Glider and fairgoers below at th

Photography is more than casual hobby for U's Douglas

Gophers football teammates and their surroundings are all fair game for wide receiver Demetrius Douglas and his penchant for photography.
Gophers linebacker Kamal Martin (21) defended successfully against a pass intended for tight end Ko Kieft in practice. Martin did not play in the seas

Fleck sits senior linebacker Martin for Gophers' season opener

Kamal Martin missed the team's bowl game last season for a violation of team rules and Thursday's benching was a continuation of that punishment.
Gophers defensive lineman Winston DeLattiboudere scooped up a South Dakota State fumble in the fourth quarter, leading to a game-winning touchdown.

Gophers rally late, avoid season-opening upset vs. South Dakota State

The Jackrabbits had two touchdowns called back, and the Gophers needed a fourth-quarter fumble recovery and fancy two-point conversion to win in front of the announced crowd of 49,112 fans.
Rodney Smith was out of the lineup but not out of the picture after his knee surgery. The sixth-year Gophers senior coached and advised his younger pe

Gophers running back Smith returns to lead team's 'tightest-knit-group'

After playing only two games last season because of an injury, senior Rodney Smith has come back for a final season with the backfield he's helped mentor through good times and bad.
Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan

Faith carried Gophers QB Morgan through freshman year journey

Tanner Morgan's inner peace balances him. He focuses on positive thoughts like the confidence he has in his own ability, which repeatedly showed itself when he took over the starter's role last season.
Redshirt freshman J’Bore Gibbs has stepped in as the starting quarterback for the Jackrabbits, taking over for Taryn Christion, the program's all-ti

Gophers to face numerous unknowns against South Dakota State

The Jackrabbits have replaced their starting quarterback and offensive coordinator from last season.
Even in Southeastern Conference college towns such as Fayetteville, Ark., a full house on an Arkansas Razorback football Saturday is not a sure thing.

Dropping college football attendance is not just a Gophers thing

Numbers are down around the nation on autumn Saturdays, and even big-time programs are not immune to the concern.
Nebraska’s Scott Frost tacked a strong finish onto last season and expects more in 2019. “Year 2 gets easier,” he said.

Atop the Big Ten, big change is taking shape this football season

In the eight-year history of the Big Ten Championship Game, red and green have been the it colors. That could be about to change in 2019.
Gophers running back Rodney Smith.

Fleck plans to attack U's opponents with plenty of running backs

When the Gophers play South Dakota State in Thursday's opener, fans could see as many as a half-dozen running backs get some time on the field.
Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor.

Megan Ryan's five Big Ten players to watch

Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor has that Heisman Trophy look.
Michigan dual-threat quarterback Shea Patterson returns for a second season after transferring from Mississippi.

Megan Ryan's picks in the Big Ten

Our Gophers football beat writer projects how the 14 teams will finish.
Joe Rossi has settled into his role as U defensive coordinator after taking over in midstream last season while becoming a father for the second time.

Gophers defensive coordinator Rossi is the caring kind

Joe Rossi already has an impressive, albeit small, sample size on the field. And coach P.J. Fleck is sure about him as a person off it.

A week away from opening kickoff, Fleck not ready to name starting kicker

P.J. Fleck has been deliberating between freshman Michael Lantz and redshirt freshman Brock Walker. On Thursday, Fleck still didn't have much clarity.
Gophers redshirt junior defensive back Kiondre Thomas will again try to get his hands on Purdue wide receiver Rondale Moore in the team’s Big Ten op

Building hype: Gophers have opportunistic path in Year 3 under Fleck

Without squinting too hard, an optimistic fan could see a scenario where Minnesota is among the division leaders heading into the Nov. 9 home game against Penn State.
Quarterback Demry Croft, shown here playing for Tennessee State.

Former Gophers QB Croft charged with multiple counts of rape

Croft, who left Minnesota for Tennessee State, was arrested for six felony counts of rape and two counts of sexual battery, according to a Nashville newspaper.
Rashod Bateman set freshman records for the Gophers last season with 51 receptions for 704 yards.

U receiver Bateman looks to build on record-setting freshman season

With both added weight and experience, Rashod Bateman says he believes he's taken his game to another level and is an all-around better player.
Gophers coach P.J. Fleck earlier this month.

Gophers preparing for today's lone training camp scrimmage

Coach P.J. Fleck said he wants to find out what some of the younger players can do in a game-like situation.
Gophers coach P.J. Fleck says Mohamed Ibrahim “plays the game the right way.”

Ibrahim proved himself with Gophers when given the ball

Mohamed Ibrahim is eager to build off his remarkable freshman season.
Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan (2) passed the ball during practice Saturday.

Injury ends Gophers quarterback battle. But who'll back up Morgan?

Zack Annexstad's foot injury means the starting QB battle is over, with Tanner Morgan behind center, and the backup will be a true freshman.
] MARK VANCLEAVE • Gophers wide receiver Tyler Johnson photographed Tuesday, Jul 30, 2019 near Dundas, Minn.

'Northside for life!' Gophers star Johnson an agent for hope

When Tyler Johnson earned a football scholarship to play for the University of Minnesota, north Minneapolis traveled the five miles to campus with him. The journey began with a choice he made well before arriving on campus.
Zack Annexstad during the spring football game in April

Gophers lose QB Annexstad to 'serious' foot injury

Gophers coach P.J. Fleck said quarterback Zack Annexstad felt a "pop" in his foot on Friday. Fellow sophomore Tanner Morgan becomes the likely starter, at least for the team's Aug. 29 opener vs. South Dakota State.
Antoine Winfield Jr., returned from left foot surgery for the Gophers during spring practice in March.

Five Gophers to watch at Saturday's open football practice

The Gophers opened training camp Wednesday, but Saturday will be their first practice in full pads, and one of three open to the public.
Gophers Coach P.J. Fleck hugged running back Rodney Smith before the Gophers faced Buffalo in the 2017 season opener.

Gophers list reasons why football season should bring more success

With training camp opening Monday, the team's veterans and coach P.J. Fleck can't wait to see how the season unfolds - one that features a more experienced team and a favorable schedule.
Gophers quarterbacks Tanner Morgan (2) and Zack Annexstad

Morgan, Annexstad neck and neck in 'very equal' Gophers QB duel

Tanner Morgan and Zack Annexstad split time last year, with Morgan taking over for injured Annexstad about halfway through the season.
Outgoing Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany brought up the idea of dropping divisions after last season. The conference wants more of its teams in the Co

Big Ten football considers getting rid of East, West divisions

First, there was Legends and Leaders. Now, there is East and West. Soon, there will be … nothing? Why do some people think this would be a good idea?
After 15 years Minnesota took back Paul Bunyan’s Axe with a victory at Camp Randall Stadium and gave the division foes’ rivalry a shot in the arm.

Axe is Fleck's latest motivational tool; Badgers don't see it that way

From P.J. Fleck's perspective, a 14-year drought caused Gophers fans to doubt that Paul Bunyon's Axe would ever return to Minnesota.