Gophers making progress on football field, and want more

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 28, 2013 - 6:42 AM

Words of praise for the Gophers are being written nationally. The U hopes the the tale builds.

hide

The Gophers, including Eric Murray (31) and Steven Montgomery (12), celebrated late in the fourth quarter.

Photo: JIM GEHRZ • jgehrz@startribune.com,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The celebration had begun inside the Gophers locker room, but Jerry Kill was late.

The other coaches in the press box had hustled downstairs to greet the players after Saturday’s 34-23 victory over Nebraska, but Kill wasn’t ready to leave the booth.

“He said, ‘The heck with this, I’m sitting up here enjoying this scene, with all the people rushing the field,’  ” Gophers acting head coach Tracy Claeys said Sunday. “So he came down to the locker room after that.”

While Kill smiled down on the field, the national view of his program was improving, too. He had spoken all offseason about the need for a signature win, and here it was — the first victory for Minnesota over Nebraska since 1960.

“Congratulations to Minnesota on a huge win! Bowl eligible for second year in a row!” ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit tweeted to his 399,000 followers.

“Minnesota is one of the best stories in the Big Ten and the nation,” co-authors Brian Bennett and Adam Rittenberg wrote on ESPN.com. “How many teams could have withstood their coach taking a leave of absence in the middle of the season? The Gophers are not just surviving but thriving since Jerry Kill decided to focus on his epilepsy treatment.”

Tom Dienhart of BTN.com wrote, “The Minnesota story keeps getting better and better. … Someone call Hollywood.”

Kill’s first three recruiting classes have ranked toward the bottom of the Big Ten, but beating Nebraska should help.

Before, the Gophers could sell Kill’s track record of rebuilding other programs and point to the progress made in his first two seasons at Minnesota, after improving from 3-9 to 6-7. Now, they have their first victory over a ranked team, as Nebraska was No. 25 before falling out of the poll Sunday.

And it wasn’t just the final score, but the way the Gophers did it. Offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover put on a clinic with a variety of jet-sweeps and misdirection plays. The Cornhuskers seemed to be guessing all day.

“I thought they outphysicaled us,” Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said. “That’s the most disappointing thing that I saw.”

In the Omaha World-Herald, Dirk Chatelain wrote, “If I had put Nebraska and Minnesota in shirts and skins, you wouldn’t have known which one has decades of tradition and which one doesn’t.

“Match up the same teams next Saturday and there’s no reason to think the same thing wouldn’t happen. The Gophers were better. More intelligent. More disciplined. More focused. More intense. Better.”

The Gophers could take these quotes and put them on a recruiting poster.

“The hard thing about it is so many [high school seniors] have already made up their minds,” Claeys said. “So it actually helps you with the following year probably more than it will this year.”

In the meantime, the Gophers (6-2, 2-2 in the Big Ten) can continue building from within. Claeys said nobody on the team would have been satisfied with six victories heading into the season. Their final four regular-season opponents are Indiana, Penn State, Wisconsin and Michigan State, and their bowl game destination will depend on how well they finish.

Heading to Indiana next Saturday, the Gophers have no reason to be overconfident, as the early betting lines listed them as 9½-point underdogs. The Hoosiers (3-4, 1-2) got their signature win for third-year coach Kevin Wilson three weeks ago when they knocked off Penn State, and had a bye week to prepare for the Gophers after a 63-47 loss to Michigan.

“The thing that concerns me about Indiana is how well we’re going to tackle,” Claeys said. “They are athletic, and they spread you out, that’s what Kevin’s based that whole thing off.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - J. Peavy 7:07 PM
Kansas City - Y. Ventura
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Houston 6:00 PM
Orlando
Brooklyn 6:30 PM
Boston
Washington 6:30 PM
New York
Cleveland 7:00 PM
Memphis
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Milwaukee
Atlanta 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Portland 9:00 PM
LA Lakers
Phoenix 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Toronto 0 Postponed
Ottawa 0
Philadelphia 7:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Washington 8:30 PM
Edmonton
Buffalo 9:30 PM
Anaheim
Arkansas State 40 FINAL
Louisiana 55
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Chivas USA 8:30 PM
Real Salt Lake
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close