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.


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

Photo: JIM GEHRZ •,

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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 “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 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.”

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NY Yankees 0 Bottom 1st Inning
Toronto 0
Detroit 3 Top 1st Inning
Chicago WSox 0
Chicago Cubs - F. Doubront 1:15 PM
St. Louis - J. Masterson
Cincinnati - A. Simon 3:05 PM
Pittsburgh - V. Worley
Minnesota - K. Gibson 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Philadelphia - J. Williams 6:10 PM
NY Mets - B. Colon
Miami - J. Cosart 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Boston - A. Webster 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi
Cleveland - T. Bauer 6:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Detroit - K. Ryan 6:10 PM
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt
Texas - R. Ross Jr. 6:10 PM
Houston - S. Feldman
Colorado - T. Matzek 7:10 PM
Arizona - V. Nuno
Chicago Cubs - T. Wada 7:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Gonzales
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke 7:40 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
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San Francisco - J. Peavy
Oakland - J. Samardzija 8:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Rasmus
Washington - S. Strasburg 8:10 PM
Seattle - R. Elias
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 FINAL
Washington St 38
Weber State 14 FINAL
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 37 FINAL
Vanderbilt 7
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 7 2nd Qtr 5:06
UAB 24
(7) UCLA 7 2nd Qtr 3:22
Virginia 3
Western Mich 14 2nd Qtr 8:58
Purdue 13
(5) Ohio State 3 2nd Qtr 4:20
Navy 7
Appalachian St 0 2nd Qtr 3:59
Michigan 21
Ga Southern 7 2nd Qtr 12:35
NC State 3
Boston College 2:00 PM
West Virginia 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 2:30 PM
Marshall 2:30 PM
UC Davis 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 6:00 PM
Stephen F Austin 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 9:30 PM
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Colorado 3:00 PM
New England 4:00 PM
Toronto FC
Columbus 6:30 PM
FC Dallas 7:30 PM
Real Salt Lake 9:30 PM
San Jose
Portland 9:30 PM
Vancouver FC
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
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Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Chicago 6:00 PM
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pm
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pm
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. TBA
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
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




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