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.
The security guard who checked my bag as I entered Camp Randall Stadium this morning told me, "I don't think it's going to be a real big crowd today."
I asked her what that meant. She said, "Some of the students will stay outside and party. I don't think they expect it to be a good game."
Judging by the pregame shows I listened to on the drive to the stadium, that's a widely held view. If this is a rivalry game, I'm not sure all of the fans feel it these days, not with Michigan State coming to Madison next week and Ohio State next month.
The Gophers' main goal today is to recapture Paul Bunyan's Axe after an eight-year absence, of course, but there's a secondary objective, too: Find out if Philip Nelson is ready for Big Ten football. The freshman quarterback has warmed up, alongside Max Shortell, and gets the first action of his career in less than an hour. Win or lose, this is an important day for Gopher football.
As reported yesterday, Ed Olson did not make the trip to Madison, a shame considering he's a junior and won't get to play here again. MarQueis Gray has warmed up, but with the receivers. Devin Crawford-Tufts won't play today, but the other receivers are all in uniform and apparently ready to play.
It's 46 degrees and sunny at Camp Randall.
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