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Following Gophers football year-round, Big Ten action and more

Pregame: Mitch Leidner throwing passes on the field

Gophers quarterback Mitch Leidner, who has been cleared from the concussion protocol, was one of the first players on the field this morning, throwing passes.

The team has yet to announce whether Leidner or Conor Rhoda will be the starting quarterback for the 11 a.m., homecoming game against Rutgers.

Check back here for that news and other pregame updates.

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Gophers, favored by 19 points, determined not to overlook Rutgers

Gophers football coach Tracy Claeys thought his team delivered its most complete performance so far this season – on offense, defense and special teams – in last week’s 31-10 win at Maryland.

Now, Claeys will try to avoid any letups against a struggling Rutgers team Saturday for homecoming.

The Scarlet Knights (2-5, 0-3 Big Ten) come in riding a five-game losing streak and sit 108th in the latest USA Today Sagarin computer rankings. The Gophers, 49th in those same rankings, are 19-point favorites.

“It happens every week somewhere,” Claeys said of college football upsets. “Virginia Tech's an awfully good football team. [Last] week, they slipped up against Syracuse, you know? And so that's the challenge. That's what we get paid for, is to make sure they're ready to go on Saturday.”

The Scarlet Knights have been playing football for 148 years, the past three in the Big Ten, yet this will be their first time playing the Gophers anywhere. So there’s no history to lean on, similar to the Maryland game, where the teams had played only one other time (in 1977).

After firing coach Kyle Flood last season, and finishing 4-8, Rutgers hired Chris Ash, who’d been the co-defensive coordinator under Urban Meyer at Ohio State.

Rutgers had a decent start to the season, going 2-2, including a hard-fought, 14-7 home loss to Iowa. But wide receiver Janarion Grant, who has eight career special teams touchdowns (five kickoff returns, three punt returns), suffered a season-ending ankle injury against the Hawkeyes.

“Obviously, they lost a great player earlier in the year, so you can say anything that you want,” Gophers defensive coordinator Jay Sawvel said. “Not everybody has a lot of that guy running around. No. 1 was dynamic. You lose a guy like that, it’s hard to replace, but they’ve got other guys that are good players.”

Still, in a stretch from that Iowa defeat to last week’s loss to Illinois, Rutgers was outscored 160-0. Of course that includes eight quarters against Ohio State and Michigan.

“This week, we’re both 0-0 in my head,” Gophers linebacker Jonathan Celestin said. “So in the end of the week, we want to come out 1-0. We prepare for them like we prepared for Penn State, like we prepared for Maryland. It doesn’t matter. Any team can be beat on any day.”

TV Listings

Local Schedule

< >
  • Rutgers at Gophers football

    11 am on ESPNU, 100.3-FM

  • Gophers women's hockey at Ohio State

    2 pm

  • Wild at New Jersey

    6 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Minnesota United FC at Carolina

    6:30 pm on Ch. 29

  • Gophers men's hockey at St. Cloud State

    7 pm on FSN PLUS, 1500-AM

  • Vikings at Philadelphia

    12 pm on Ch. 9, 100.3/1130

  • Wild at N.Y. Islanders

    5 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Wild at Boston

    6 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Timberwolves at Memphis

    7 pm on FSN, 830-AM

  • Wild at Buffalo

    6 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • St. Cloud State at Gophers women's hockey

    7:07 pm on BTN PLUS

  • Gophers men's hockey at Clarkson

    6 pm on 1500-AM

  • St. Cloud State at Gophers women's hockey

    7:07 pm on BTN PLUS

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