The Gophers coaching staff has been anything but predictable in picking a starting quarterback each week this season.
Mitch Leidner got a surprising start Saturday against Nebraska after Philip Nelson had performed better in the previous week’s victory at Northwestern.
Leidner led three drives against Nebraska, resulting in a punt, a touchdown and another punt. On the fourth possession, the Gophers turned to Nelson, and the team responded with another touchdown drive, capped by a 33-yard touchdown pass from Nelson to Derrick Engel on fourth-and-10.
That gave the Gophers the lead, and they stuck with Nelson for the rest of the game.
“At this point, it’s just kind of a feel thing, and I think different opponents will dictate who that guy is, and who the starter’s going to be,” Gophers offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover said.
Leidner rushed four times for 2 yards, including one sack, and completed one of two passes for 7 yards. Nelson rushed eight times for 55 yards and completed seven of 15 passes for 152 yards.
“Coach [Jerry] Kill talked with both the quarterbacks, and he said, ‘The thing you can’t worry about is, we’re not going to have a starter each and every week, and it’s not going to be one guy that’s head and shoulders above the other. You’re both going to play. You’re both going to have to approach it that way,’ ” Limegrover said.
“The greatest thing about those two kids is there’s no ego there. Neither one of them is like, ‘I have to be the starter.’ At the end of the day, both collectively say, ‘Whatever it takes to win a football game, I’m in.’ ”
Offense opens up
Limegrover said the Gophers wanted to have some fun with their play-calling against Nebraska, using various misdirection plays and versions of the jet sweep, with receivers going in motion, taking the handoff and sprinting around the end.
“A lot of the jet sweep action stuff we had in the offense, we just didn’t put it into a concentrated effort,” Limegrover said.
Asked how he knew misdirection plays would work against Nebraska, Limegrover said, “I hate to pick open old wounds, but we watched [last season’s] Big Ten championship game a lot.”
That was a reference to Nebraska’s 70-31 loss to Wisconsin. The Gophers racked up 430 yards, compared to 328 for Nebraska.
“I think our success is going to put some confidence in the coaches to not be timid with the play calls,” Nelson said. “I think we can really start to build off some of the stuff we’re doing now because we’re really starting to become a dangerous offense.”
Coach making progress
Kill remains on leave to treat his epilepsy, but he spoke to the team before the game, at halftime and after the game. Acting head coach Tracy Claeys said Kill still has some steps to take before he’ll be ready to return to coaching full-time.
After the game, Kill recorded a message that the Gophers released on Twitter.
“I just want to tell all the fans out there how much we appreciate you,” Kill said. “Today, you were a difference. … Thank you, it’s a lot of fun and let’s keep moving forward.”
• The 31 carries and 138 yards for David Cobb were both career highs. He has three 100-yard rushing games this season, including two in a row, and leads the team with 615 yards.
• Senior Ed Olson got the start at left tackle, but redshirt freshman Ben Lauer played some left tackle, too.
• Junior safety Cedric Thompson came off the bench and led the Gophers with six tackles.
|Carolina||10||2nd Qtr 5:26|
|Detroit||0||2nd Qtr 6:19|
|Oakland||7||2nd Qtr 9:25|
|Arizona||7||2nd Qtr 6:09|
|St. Louis||6||2nd Qtr 4:18|
|TBA||1/3/15 2:00 AM|
|TBA||1/3/15 2:00 AM|
|TBA||1/4/15 2:00 AM|
|TBA||1/4/15 2:00 AM|
|Detroit||40||2nd Qtr 3:44|
|Oklahoma City||6:30 PM|
|New York||8:00 PM|
|Toronto||0||1st Prd 11:50|
|Central Conn St||48||FINAL|
|Long Beach State||67||FINAL|
|South Dakota St||63||FINAL|
|Central Penn College||69||FINAL|
|SE Missouri St||94|
|North Dakota St||83|
|Northwestern St||89||2nd Half 1:28|
|Saint Peters||34||2nd Half 7:08|
|St Katherine||42||2nd Half 8:40|
|Haskell||26||2nd Half 10:56|
|Wake Forest||43||2nd Half 10:44|
|Fla Gulf Coast||35||2nd Half 15:00|
|SD Christian||27||2nd Half 10:44|
|Judson||20||1st Half 1:23|
|Ill-Chicago||12||1st Half 11:53|
|Loyola-Maryland||9||1st Half 13:02|
|Miss Valley St||8||1st Half 14:30|
|Lehigh||4||1st Half 15:02|
|Delaware State||2||1st Half 13:00|
|NW Christian||5:00 PM|
|UC Davis||5:00 PM|
|Abilene Christian||5:00 PM|
|Stony Brook||7:00 PM|
|(15) Arizona State||36||FINAL|
|Texas A&M||12/29/14 1:00 PM|
|Oklahoma||12/29/14 4:30 PM|
|Arkansas||12/29/14 8:00 PM|
|Notre Dame||12/30/14 2:00 PM|
|(13) Georgia||12/30/14 5:45 PM|
|Maryland||12/30/14 9:00 PM|
|(9) Ole Miss||12/31/14 11:30 AM|
|(21) Boise State||12/31/14 3:00 PM|
|(8) Miss State||12/31/14 7:00 PM|
|(10) Georgia Tech|
|(19) Auburn||1/1/15 11:00 AM|
|(7) Michigan State||1/1/15 11:30 AM|
|(16) Missouri||1/1/15 12:00 PM|
|(2) Florida State||1/1/15 4:00 PM|
|(5) Ohio State||1/1/15 7:30 PM|
|Houston||1/2/15 11:00 AM|
|Iowa||1/2/15 2:20 PM|
|(11) Kansas State||1/2/15 5:45 PM|
|Washington||1/2/15 9:15 PM|
|East Carolina||1/3/15 11:00 AM|
|Toledo||1/4/15 8:00 PM|
|(10) Oregon State||63||FINAL|
|William & Mary||56|
|(20) Michigan State||57|
|(24) Green Bay||66||FINAL|
|Miss Valley St||40||FINAL|
|Sam Houston St||46||FINAL|
|(4) Notre Dame||52||2nd Half 15:21|
|Coll of Charleston||38||2nd Half 11:58|
|Alcorn State||32||2nd Half 13:36|
|Dartmouth||62||2nd Half 7:36|
|Michigan||33||2nd Half 11:44|
|Fla Gulf Coast||34||2nd Half|
|(25) Arizona State||34|
|UC Santa Barbara||8||1st Half 11:22|
|Long Island||12||1st Half 10:37|
|Long Beach St||10|
|Jackson State||5||1st Half 14:27|
|Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois||6 pm||X||42-20|
|Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St.||2:30 pm||X||35-24|
|Sep 13 - at TCU||3 pm||X||30-7|
|Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St.||3 p.m.||X||24-7|
|Sep 27 - at Michigan||2:30 pm||X||30-14|
|Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern||11 am||X||24-17|
|Oct 18 - vs. Purdue||11 am||X||39-38|
|Oct 25 - at Illinois||11 am||X||28-24|
|Nov 8 - vs. Iowa||11 am||X||51-14|
|Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State||11 am||X||31-24|
|Nov 22 - at Nebraska||11 am||X||28-24|
|Nov 29 - at Wisconsin||2:30 pm||X||34-24|
|Jan 1 - vs. Missouri||noon|