Mount Union's Kehres keeps gaining

  • Article by: Patrick Reusse
  • Star Tribune
  • December 18, 2006 - 10:13 PM

John Gagliardi, 80, had another 11-victory season with St. John's. That put his all-time record for a college football coach at 443 victories.

Still, John lost four more victories to Mount Union's Larry Kehres in the chase for immortality. The Purple Raiders once again went 15-0 and won their ninth Division III national championship, including the eighth in the past 11 seasons.

Gagliardi has been more dominant in the MIAC over the past 15 years than at any time in his historic tenure in Collegeville. He has 157 victories in that time, an average of 10.4 per season.

Pretty good, right?

Kehres has 198 victories in those 15 years at Mount Union, an average of 13.2 per season. His victory total has soared to 246 (with 20 losses and three ties), and he's only 55.

JUCOs replace defectors

The recruiting classes of 2003 and 2004 would provide the seniors for college football teams next fall -- either redshirts or four-year players. There were 43 high school players who signed for scholarships and enrolled at Minnesota in those two years. Only 22 are left in the program.

That huge defection rate has left the Gophers short of talent. And that's the reason they have gone after junior college recruits as at no time previously in Gophers football history.

Assistant coach Craig Bray has received seven commitments -- and he's still in pursuit of Devin Bishop, a linebacker from the City College of San Francisco. According to, he has offers from California, Missouri and Oregon.

The offers listed for some other JUCO recruits aren't quite as impressive. For instance:

The Gophers beat out Temple for receiver Marc Cheatham, Idaho State and Western Illinois for defensive end Eric Tanner and Temple and Washington State for linebacker Logan Uu.

Bottom line: The Gophers might be taking the rivalry that started with Temple this fall way too seriously.

Rucker finds the ball

One of the defectors from the 2003 Gophers recruiting class was Micah Rucker, a 6-6, 230-pound receiver from Estero, Fla. Rucker was redshirted, then played little in the 2004 and 2005 seasons. He had a total of four Minnesota receptions.

Rucker transferred to Eastern Illinois, the alma mater of those two current NFL legends, Tony Romo and Brad Childress.

Rucker's first game for the Division 1-AA Panthers was against Illinois. He had four catches for 105 yards. The junior wound up with 49 catches for 966 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Eastern Illinois won the Ohio Valley Conference at 7-1, and Rucker was among seven Panthers who were on the all-OVC first team.

Run faster, son

Randall McDaniel, the Vikings' all-time great guard, only showed his prankster side to people inside the team. A favored tact for McDaniel and his fellow offensive linemen was to tape individuals to a goal post. This was a fate suffered by nearly every ball boy to work training camp in Mankato.

One of these lads decided to gain revenge by pouring water over McDaniel's head. He did so from an elevated location, then assured his pals that Randall "wouldn't do anything about it."

Tom West from the Vikings' P.R. department recalled the scene after a practice. "Randall told the water-pouring ball boy to start running," West said. "He let him get about a field-and-a-half away, then took off. The kid couldn't believe it, but Randall ran him down in a hurry."

That was McDaniel's non-advertised asset: speed. In high school, he made the Arizona state finals in the 100-meter dash. That race was won by Vance Johnson, the future Broncos receiving standout.

Jots with dots

This week's update: The Wild has won 16, lost 16 and has 34 points, while yielding 42 points to opponents. ... North Dakota State was ineligible for the Division 1-AA playoffs in its third year making the transition from D-II. The Bison -- 10-1, with a 10-9 loss to the Gophers -- did finish No. 5 in the final 1-AA poll released Monday. ... Jarvis Brown is the new baseball coach at Wisconsin-Parkside in his hometown of Kenosha. Brown appeared in 38 games for the 1991 Twins as a backup outfielder. He was on the postseason roster for his pinch-running ability. ... Henry Sibley lost Trevor Mbakwe as a transfer to St. Bernard's. Coach Tom Dasovich's Warriors have proven there is life after a superstar. They are 4-0, with victories over Cretin-Derham Hall, Park Center and Minnetonka, three teams rated in the Star Tribune's preseason top 10 for the metro area. ... Omaha World-Herald headline on an advance story for NCAA women's volleyball Final Four: "Two line hed goes here and here." Ouch!

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