Joe Christensen covered Major League Baseball for 15 years, including three seasons at the Baltimore Sun and eight at the Star Tribune, before switching to the college football beat. He’s a Faribault, Minn., native who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1996. He covered Jim Wacker’s Gophers for the Minnesota Daily and also wrote about USC, UCLA and the Rose Bowl for the Riverside Press-Enterprise before getting this chance to cover football again.

Email Joe to talk about the Gophers.

Streveler named Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week

Posted by: Joe Christensen under Gopher quarterbacks, Gophers awards and honors Updated: September 22, 2014 - 9:25 AM

Gophers quarterback Chris Streveler was named Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week on Monday after rushing for 161 yards in Saturday's 24-7 victory over San Jose State. Streveler shared the honor with Indiana linebacker Tegray Scales.

Filling in for injured starter Mitch Leidner, Streveler completed just one of seven passes for seven yards, but was a major part of the Gophers 380-yard rushing attack.

The last time the Gophers had a Big Ten Freshman of the Week was last year, when Leidner rushed for 151 yards and four touchdowns in a 43-24 win over San Jose State.

Kill says the Gophers aren't afraid to keep riding Cobb

Posted by: Joe Christensen under Gopher coaches Updated: September 21, 2014 - 2:07 PM

With David Cobb slicing and dicing through San Jose State’s defense, the Gophers kept giving him the ball Saturday. He finished 207 yards on 34 carries, the highest number of carries for a Gophers running back since Amir Pinnix had 34 in the Insight Bowl loss to Texas Tech in 2006.

“My dad taught me a long time ago, if you’ve got a good horse, ride him,” coach Jerry Kill said Sunday. “[Cobb] was a hot back at that time, seeing things well. And there will be a time when it won’t be that clean, and you’ll put another one in. But why take him out, if he’s doing what he’s doing? We subbed him some, but sometimes David gets better as the game goes on.”

Quarterback Chris Streveler had 18 carries for 161 yards, but the other tailbacks played small roles. Berkley Edwards had three carries for nine yards, and Donnell Kirkwood had two carries for five yards.

Edwards and Kirkwood had both injured their shoulders at TCU but came out of this one feeling better, Kill said. That means Edwards could be a weapon for the Gophers next week at Michigan, and you can bet he'll be motivated against the school that didn’t recruit him after his brother and father starred there.

Halftime analysis: Gophers haven't completed a pass; Cobb's been dominant

Posted by: Joe Christensen under Gophers game day Updated: September 20, 2014 - 4:25 PM

The Gophers lead San Jose State 17-7 at halftime. Some quick takeaways:

* The Gophers have yet to complete a pass. Chris Streveler is 0-for-2. With Mitch Leidner and Maxx Williams on the sideline, they’re not being cute.

* David Cobb has carried 22 times for 149 yards. No other running back has carried the ball. Streveler has nine carries for 73 years. That’s been the whole offense. Cobb fumbled into the end zone late in the second quarter.

* Blake Jurich is no David Fales. San Jose State had an impressive offense last year with Fales threading the needle to his receivers. Jurich led one TD drive, as the Gophers had a lapse in their secondary on a 46-yard pass and missed some tackles on a bubble screen that went for a 27-yard TD. But Jurich has thrown two bad interceptions.

* San Jose State coach Ron Caragher has left himself open to second guessing, trying a 58-yard field goal, and then letting Jurich pass after Cobb’s fumble with just 29 seconds left in the half.

Pregame: Streveler to start at QB in place of Leidner; Maxx Williams won't play

Posted by: Joe Christensen under Gophers game day Updated: September 20, 2014 - 1:48 PM

Chris Streveler will make his first career start for the Gophers on Saturday, replacing the injured Mitch Leidner, and Maxx Williams will not play, the Star Tribune has confirmed.

Leidner has a sprained MCL in his left knee, and turf toe in his left foot. Williams has a lower-body injury, but it's not to one of his knees.

Here’s my feature story on Streveler from last week. The Gophers No. 3 QB behind Leidner and Streveler is Jacques Perra, a walk-on from Roseville.

Here’s my preview story, here’s my prediction, and here’s Patrick Reusse’s column. Our live blog is up and running.

For the second straight week, an ESPN poll of the nation’s coaches has put Jerry Kill in a good light. Last week, coaches were asked to name which coach they’d want their son to play for (other than themselves). The top two choices were Georgia’s Mark Richt and Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops. Kill finished tied for third with Stanford’s David Shaw.

This week’s question asked which coach is the most underrated. The results went like this: 1. Duke’s David Cutcliffe, 2. Oregon State’s Mike Reilly, 3. East Carolina’s Ruffin McNeill, 4. Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio, and Kill was tied for fifth with Kansas State’s Bill Snyder.

Chip Scoggins is here with me in the press box. Follow us on Twitter: @JoeCStrib and @ChipScoggins

More updates to come...

Updates: Two other players who were listed as questionable -- wide receiver KJ Maye and left guard Zac Epping -- are expected to play.

The Gophers are wearing all maroon today, just as they did in last year's 43-24 win over San Jose State.

On radio, Kill says Maxx Williams and KJ Maye both questionable for San Jose State game

Posted by: Joe Christensen under Gophers injuries Updated: September 18, 2014 - 1:48 PM

Add Maxx Williams and KJ Maye to the growing list of injured Gophers players.

Coach Jerry Kill said on his weekly radio show (100.3-FM) that Williams and Maye were both questionable for Saturday's game against San Jose State. That means the Gophers could be without two of their top receiving targets.

Kill did not specify what injuries they have. For Williams, I'm told it's not a recurrence of his knee injury, but he did not participate in Wednesday's practice.

Kill said left guard Zac Epping is questionable, presumably with a high-ankle sprain, as he's been playing with that. Kill also said wide receiver Logan Hutton is out with an unspecified injury.

As for quarterback Mitch Leidner, Kill noted that he wasn't moving as well Tuesday so the team backed off Wednesday. He was able to run around Thursday morning and is expected to practice today.

"We’re certainly not going to play that young man unless he’s 100 percent," Kill said.

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