Joe Christensen covered Major League Baseball for 15 years, including three seasons 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.
Email Joe to talk about the Gophers.
As you watch the Vikings game tonight, keep an eye out for Giants running back Brandon Jacobs, who has had two 1,000-yard rushing seasons in his six-year NFL career. His connection to Gophers football?
He was coached by Jerry Kill.
Jacobs played his senior season in 2004 at Southern Illinois, where Kill had turned the Salukis into a Division I-AA powerhouse, after deciding he wouldn't get enough playing time behind Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown at Auburn.
That's probably not enough of a recruiting triumph to convince Minnesota skeptics that Kill can recruit BCS-level players; heck, the only reason Jacobs went to Carbondale was that he needed to drop down a level in order to avoid sitting out a season. But Kill got a memorable season out of Jacobs, even though he split up the ball-carrying workload with a couple other players, including former Gopher Terry Jackson.
Jacobs rushed for 992 yards and 19 touchdowns in his only season with Kill, and was drafted in the fourth round by the Giants.
When Kill was hired by the Gophers last week, Jacobs told the university's athletic communications department, "He's the perfect college coach."
Said Jacobs, who had 103 yards on just eight carries against the Redskins last week, "He treated you like a man. There was a level of respect. He treated all his players fairly. He expected the best out of you and wanted you to go out and do everything you could to win. He stood behind you no matter what."
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