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Minnesota sports, as seen elsewhere

'Leidner Island' is home of Gophers quarterback's biggest fans

Leidner Island, Minn., has a population of 581. The mayor is Mitch Leidner, Gophers football senior quarterback, and its citizens are fully committed to his movement.

The islanders wear shirts featuring half of a football growing a palm tree on top of the words “Leidner Island.” They represent the group’s unrelenting support for the quarterback.

The island, which can be found in Lot 37 at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturdays and in Twitter’s digital universe, was settled only about a month ago when the Twitter account was established. As of Tuesday, 581 fans follow the account and are making enough noise that Leidner is starting to take notice and showing his appreciation.  

“I’ve never even met them before and to see how much they support me [is great],” Leidner said Tuesday. “I think the first thing they said when I saw them was, ‘Dude, I love you.’ I was like all right. That’s pretty cool. It’s fun though and any good publicity like that is good, so.”

Leidner learned about his following from an uncle that spotted the t-shirt around TCF Bank Stadium. Then “the next thing you know they stopped by my parents little tailgate spot,” Leidner said and he was thanking them with photographs and autographs.

“It is a pretty interesting deal that they got going on there,” Leidner said.

The Lakeville product has led the Gophers to a 3-0 start and has thrown for 599 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. He also has rushed for 135 yards and three touchdowns. His total QB rating is 80, ranked 16th in the nation and third in the Big Ten.

Leidner Islanders are creating some hype around the quarterback despite the unsatisfied doubters that include rival Twitter account @LeidnerLifeRaft “get off the island.” After Tuesday’s press conference and shout-out, @LeidnerIsland tweeted “We got you Mitch!!!!!”

The group even tried to sell fake real estate to ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit warning “There’s room now but space is limited.” 

Ex-Gophers star Boddy-Calhoun makes Browns history in NFL debut

Briean Boddy-Calhoun intercepted Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill Sunday and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown to give Cleveland an early 10-7 lead.

The former Gophers standout cornerback is the first player in Browns history to have a pick six in his first career NFL game. On Tuesday, he was nominated for NFL Rookie of the Week. 

Calhoun had been inactive the first two weeks of the NFL season after Cleveland gave him a second chance just a week before the season. The 23-year-old from Delaware went undrafted last summer, but was signed by Jacksonville, then released after the preseason.

Now Boddy-Calhoun is showing Cleveland they made the right move picking him up. He finished with four tackles, one pass defended and the interception. He also gave up a touchdown in the first quarter of the Browns' 30-24 overtime loss, but feels he made up for it.

“That is the way to do it,” Boddy-Calhoun told “But more important, I got welcomed first with a touchdown on me. So in my mind when you get a play made on you, you have to find a way to make it up. You got to find a way to even it out and get a plus one, so that’s what I tried to do.”

Boddy-Calhoun showed off his speed and moves by cutting across the field and beating multiple defenders to find his way into the end zone.

“It bothers me when DBs go down immediately,” he said. “When we get the ball in our hands, we’ve got to turn into running backs, receivers, quarterbacks, offensive players and try to get in that box.”

He finished his Gophers career with 10 interceptions and returned two for touchdowns over three seasons. Check out his first NFL pick six in the below highlight.

Former NDSU star Carson Wentz was also nominated for Rookie of the Week honors for the third time this season. 

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