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.
It's the Gophers' nightmare. Good thing someone else is living it.
Purdue quarterback Rob Henry, who Gophers fans may remember for his four-touchdown performance in Tim Brewster's final game last season, tore the ACL ligament in his right knee on Tuesday, ending his season just a week before the Boilermakers' season opener against Middle Tennessee State.
There wasn't even any contact -- Henry was simply "zigging and zagging" and felt it buckle, coach Danny Hope told the Lafayette Journal and Courier.
It's good news for the Gophers, of course, since they visit Purdue on Oct. 8, and who knows what condition the Boilermakers will be in then. That game comes a week after Purdue faces Notre Dame, too.
But the Gophers better be wary of taking too much pleasure in Purdue's pain. They have even less experience behind their own double-threat quarterback than the Boilermakers do.
Henry was expected to split time with Robert Marve in a two-quarterback system, but those plans were delayed when Marve was slow to recover from his own knee injury suffered last season. (Marve may also have some questions to answer about whether he received anything he shouldn't have at Miami, but that's a whole different problem.)
So now the Boilermakers, already worried about their defense after the Big Ten's defensive player of the year Ryan Kerrigan was drafted by the Redskins, are left with junior Caleb TerBush and sophomore Sean Robinson to run the offense. TerBush has virtually no collegiate experience, while Robinson appeared in five games as a freshman, throwing six interceptions with two touchdowns and a 45 percent completion rate.
Ralph Bolden is back at tailback after missing last year with yet another devastating injury for the hard-luck Boilermakers, but his effectiveness figures to be hurt quite a bit without Henry's running ability to keep defenses spread out. Funny how expectations work -- both teams are coming off a 2-6 season in the Big Ten, but it sure feels like there's much more optimism about the future in Minneapolis than in West Lafayette.
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