Still Ponder believes that the Vikings can win a number of games going forward as long as they clean up their play.
“Our expectations are we’re going to go out and win as many games as possible,” he said. “… It’s going to be tough to go into Green Bay and win, but if we do win this one, it will be good for us [and create the chance] to put us on a six-game win streak.”
Ponder also said that he knows it will be different going up against the Packers without star quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the game. Ponder and Rodgers have faced off five times with Rodgers having won four of the five meetings.
“He’s obviously a huge part of their team and their offense but we’re not going up against their offense,” Ponder said. “We’re going up against their defense. They have Clay Matthews back, [Brad] Jones back, and they’re going to be tougher than what we faced a few weeks ago.”
• Among the 12 Gophers seniors honored at the Wisconsin game was Connor Cosgrove, son of former Gophers and Badgers assistant Kevin who is now at New Mexico. Three years ago, Connor was diagnosed with leukemia, ending his football career. But Jerry Kill kept Connor on scholarship and in describing the seniors called him the toughest kid on the team.
• Kill made sure that Gophers great Bobby Bell was at Saturday’s game, having a friend fly him in. In 1962 when the schools met for the final game of the regular season, the teams were tied atop the Big Ten with 5-1 conference records. The Gophers held a 9-7 lead in the fourth quarter when Bell was given a roughing-the-passer penalty, negating a Gophers interception that would have most likely sent them to the Rose Bowl. Gophers coach Murray Warmath argued so angrily that he was given a 15-yard penalty, and Wisconsin scored three plays later for the final 14-9 margin.
• Former Gophers men’s basketball coach Tubby Smith is off to a 4-1 nonconference start at Texas Tech, with his lone loss coming at Alabama 75-65 and victories coming against Houston Baptist, Northern Arizona, Texas Southern and South Dakota State. The Red Raiders play Pitt in New York on Monday.
• ESPN recently updated its top 300 junior football players in the class of 2015 and the No. 1 recruit in the country is Cretin-Derham Hall defensive end Jashon Cornell. Cornell has been offered scholarships by more than 20 schools, including the Gophers and 10 other Big Ten teams. He is the lone Minnesotan on ESPN’s list.
• Speaking of ESPN’s recruiting rankings, Duke jumped to No. 1 overall for the class of 2014 after Mike Krzyzewski landed Apple Valley’s Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor out of Chicago.