Gophers to face Michigan, still seeking 'defining moment'

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 5, 2013 - 12:36 PM

Confidence is high among U players as they prepare for Michigan, but the series’ history has been discouraging.

 

Gophers football coach Jerry Kill thought it was a good sign last Saturday when several players returned to the team’s football complex to study video of that afternoon’s 23-7 loss to Iowa instead of venturing out on homecoming night.

The loss might have drained enthusiasm from campus, but the Gophers didn’t have time to wallow in self-pity. Not with a schedule that could leave them as big underdogs in six of their seven remaining games.

It resumes Saturday at Michigan Stadium, where the Gophers lost 58-0 two years ago on their last visit. The battle for the Little Brown Jug has been awfully one-sided, with Minnesota’s lone victory in the past 22 meetings coming in 2005.

“Everywhere I’ve been, when we’ve turned programs around, there’s been a defining moment,” Kill said this week. “And usually that defining moment’s winning a game that maybe you’re not supposed to.”

In his third year with the Gophers, Kill is still looking for a signature win with the program. Now the Gophers (4-1) will need at least one perceived upset this season to reach the six-victory mark required for a repeat bowl appearance.

After No. 19 Michigan, the next two games are at No. 16 Northwestern and at home against Nebraska. A victory against any of those would be an upset for the Gophers.

Then comes the trip to Indiana on Nov. 2. Entering the season, Indiana and Iowa were the two Big Ten games most Gophers fans expected to win. But the season concludes with three tough ones — Penn State and Wisconsin at home before the regular-season finale at Michigan State.

“You can’t worry about what it says on the side of the helmet all the time,” Kill said. “Sometimes you go, ‘Oh, you’re going to play Michigan, and they’ve done this for the last 10 years.’ And then all of a sudden, you’re beat before you get started.”

Gophers players spoke confidently this week. Some might say too confidently.

Safety Cedric Thompson said it’s not if they’re going to win at Michigan but “when we win.” Speaking of Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner’s eight interceptions, Thompson said, “I think he kind of just panics a lot.”

And when asked about not getting psyched out by the 4-0 Wolverines, Gophers defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman said, “Just the fact they almost lost to Akron, they’re human. You know what I mean?”

Those quotes circulated through the Detroit papers, but Michigan coach Brady Hoke didn’t take the bait.

“Some of that can last about one play,” he said. “You kick the ball off … and you get that first hit in you, and you concentrate on what you have to do.”

The Wolverines are 19½-point favorites. Like Iowa, Michigan is stingy against the run, which was the strength of Minnesota’s offense through nonconference play.

The Gophers rushed for only 30 yards against Iowa, forcing quarterback Philip Nelson to do more through the air. He struggled, throwing two interceptions, taking four sacks and missing other open targets.

“We did a great job on Sunday of really being critical of ourselves, learning from [the film] and moving on,” Nelson said. “And now we’ve got a great chance to go turn this thing around and go out and do something special.”

Nelson said the biggest lesson he learned was the importance of getting rid of the ball safely and avoiding sacks. If the receivers play as well as they did against Iowa, there should be passing opportunities against Michigan, which has given up 232 passing yards per game, ranking eighth in the Big Ten.

  • related content

  • Kill has seizure and will miss Michigan game

    Saturday October 5, 2013

    Gophers coach Jerry Kill is at home in Minnesota after suffering a seizure this morning. Tracy Claeys is the acting head coach.

  • Gophers-Michigan football Live Blog

    Wednesday August 28, 2013

    Photos, tweets and more from the Gophers game against Michigan in Ann Arbor. Kickoff is at 2:30 p.m. Check in before the game for pregame photos and more from social...

  • Christensen: Q & A with Michigan beat writer Mark Snyder

    Friday October 4, 2013

    Here's some insight into this year's Wolverines team and some thoughts on the game day experience in and around Michigan Stadium.

  • The Call: Gophers vs. Michigan

    Friday October 4, 2013

    THE OPPONENTMichigan shined against Notre Dame before nearly losing to Akron and Connecticut. Now the Wolverines are coming off a...

  • Wolverines are unhappy yet unbeaten in Ann Arbor

    Friday October 4, 2013

    Michigan players and coaches are almost apologetic for being 4-0, with the Gophers up next.

  • Gophers coach Jerry Kill before the Gophers' game against San Jose State on Sat., Sept. 21, 2013, at TCF Bank Stadium.

  • Minneapolis, Oct10, 2003 - gophers v michigan - Marion Barber tackled...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles - LP: B. Wilson 7 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Grimm 8
Detroit - WP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 2
Philadelphia - WP: J. Williams 3 FINAL
Oakland - LP: D. Otero 0
Toronto - WP: M. Stroman 6 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: C. Capuano 3
Arizona - LP: T. Cahill 1 FINAL
Colorado - WP: E. Butler 5
Boston 2 Top 6th Inning
Baltimore 6
Milwaukee 0 Bottom 5th Inning
Pittsburgh 0
Washington 0 Top 7th Inning
Miami 2
NY Mets 3 Top 6th Inning
Atlanta 0
Chicago WSox 0 Bottom 6th Inning
Tampa Bay 3
Cleveland 3 Bottom 2nd Inning
Minnesota 0
Seattle 1 Top 6th Inning
Houston 7
Cincinnati 3 Bottom 6th Inning
St. Louis 6
San Francisco 0 Bottom 1st Inning
San Diego 0
Texas - C. Lewis 8:05 PM
LA Angels - J. Weaver
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(13) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(11) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 41 FINAL
East Carolina 70
Army 21 FINAL
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(21) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
SMU 6
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
FIU 3
Utah 26 4th Qtr 5:55
Michigan 10
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
(18) Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
Texas State 28 4th Qtr 6:25
Illinois 32
Georgia State 14 4th Qtr 10:41
Washington 28
Ball State 0 Delayed 9:30
Toledo 6
Appalachian St 7 3rd Qtr
Southern Miss 14
Miss State 17 3rd Qtr
(8) LSU 3
Northern Ill 7 3rd Qtr
Arkansas 28
Middle Tennessee 7 3rd Qtr
Memphis 19
Utah State 7 3rd Qtr
Arkansas State 0
Miami-Ohio 14 3rd Qtr
Cincinnati 24
Idaho 7 3rd Qtr
Ohio U 17
Ga Southern 14 3rd Qtr
South Alabama 6
(14) So Carolina 10 2nd Qtr 1:41
Vanderbilt 14
(4) Oklahoma 10 2nd Qtr 8:30
West Virginia 10
UNLV 7 2nd Qtr 14:40
Houston 13
Miami-Florida 14 2nd Qtr 13:52
(24) Nebraska 7
New Mexico 7 2nd Qtr 13:09
New Mexico St 7
(22) Clemson 0 1st Qtr 5:33
(1) Florida State 3
California 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(20) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(23) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
(18) Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(8) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(9) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(17) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Vancouver FC 0 FINAL
Portland 3
Houston 0 2nd Half 17:00
Philadelphia 0
New England 0 2nd Half 40:00
Columbus 1
San Jose 0 2nd Half 35:00
Montreal 0
Seattle 1 2nd Half 25:00
Red Bull New York 3
D.C. 0 1st Half 35:00
Chicago 0
FC Dallas 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 15 13:30
Hamilton 3
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary

ADVERTISEMENT

Advertisement
Golden Gavel by Star Tribune

Countdown to great deals

Bid Sept. 21-29

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close