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Kill hints Leidner will remain Gophers starting quarterback

Gophers coach Jerry Kill on Sunday said he's not sure exactly how he's going to dole out playing time at quarterback at Purdue next week. But he gave hints that Leidner will remain the starter, with freshman Demry Croft getting sprinkled in gradually.

"Mitch is not the reason we’re struggling so much," Kill said, one day after his team's 27-0 loss at Northwestern. "... There’s no controversy or any of that stuff, it’s just, we didn’t play very good.

"Everybody’s going to make a big deal out of [Croft replacing Leidner in the fourth quarter Saturday], but it’s not as big a deal as everybody will make out of it."

Kill said the reason Croft played is "we've got to have a backup quarterback ready to play. And we moved [Chris] Streveler to receiver, and that's where he's going to play."

The Gophers (3-2, 0-1 Big Ten) play at Purdue (1-4, 0-1) next Saturday.

"There’s several things we can do," Kill said. "I don’t want to get into right now, but we did some things with Jordan Lynch and things of that nature to get him a little experience in certain situations. But I haven’t even gotten that far yet. I can’t tell you what I’m going to do."

James has broken leg

Gophers cornerback and punt returner Craig James broke a bone in his leg, Kill said. He did not know the extent of the injury, but said James was on crutches.



Halftime analysis: Offense, special teams struggling for Gophers

EVANSTON, ILL. -- The Gophers trail Northwestern 10-0 at halftime. Some quick thoughts:

Both teams have played excellent defense. Minnesota’s offense managed just 20 yards in the second quarter.

Special teams continue to plague the Gophers. Peter Mortell had the wind and delivered a low line drive punt. Miles Shuler returned it to the Minnesota 5-yard line. Mortell made a touchdown-saving tackle, but Northwestern QB Clayton Thorson scored on a 5-yard run on the next play.

Northwestern’s defense is one of the best in the country on third down. The Wildcats cover receivers well and bring pressure.

Shannon Brooks got his first career start for the Gophers and delivered several nice first-down runs of about five yards.

Mitch Leidner had a few overthrows in the first quarter. And he underthrew the ball on his second quarter interception. It was third-and-8, and Leidner tried hitting Eric Carter on the sideline. Northwestern CB Matthew Harris jumped the route for his third interception of the year.

The Gophers came up with a big stop defensively the next series. Jack Lynn stuffed Northwestern QB Clayton Thorson for a loss on third-and-short. Jack Mitchell’s 41-yard field goal attempt into the wind went off the left upright.

TV Listings

Local Schedule

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  • Indiana at Lynx

    7pm on ESPN2, 106.1-FM

  • Oklahoma City at Timberwolves (preseason)

    7pm on 830-AM

  • Wild at Colorado

    8pm on NBCSN, 100.3-FM

  • Lynx at Indiana

    7pm on ESPN2, 106.1-FM

  • St. Cloud State at Gophers women's hockey


  • Gophers football at Purdue

    2:30pm on ESPN, 100.3-FM

  • St. Cloud State at Gophers women's hockey


  • Timberwolves vs. Chicago (preseason)

    6pm on 830-AM

  • Vermont at Gophers men's hockey

    7pm on FSN PLUS, 1500-AM

  • Timberwolves at Toronto (preseason)

    6:30pm on 830-AM

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