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.

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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.

Gophers injury updates: Leidner, Edwards, Kirkwood, Gentry, Alex Mayes

Posted by: Joe Christensen under Gopher quarterbacks, Gophers injuries Updated: September 16, 2014 - 2:30 PM

Here's a quick rundown on the news from Coach Jerry Kill's press conference:

* Mitch Leidner will practice today.

"Like last week, the trainer said that he's banged up and so forth, but said he'd be at full speed today," Kill said. "We'll see. I can't tell you until we get out there, but that's where we're at as far as I know."

Kill added: "He did not break his toe; that's all I can say. He was moving around on Sunday, so whether it's full speed or all of those things -- what I can say is the trainer said he was running pretty well. No different than last week. He basically got what they call turf toe, but he's not swelled up."

* Berkley Edwards and Donnell Kirkwood suffered shoulder injuries against TCU but are ready to practice today.

* Isaiah Gentry needs season-ending knee surgery. The freshman wide receiver will get a redshirt. And redshirt freshman offensive tackle Alex Mayes needs shoulder surgery.

Kill anticipates that quarterback Leidner will practice today

Posted by: Joe Christensen under Gopher quarterbacks, Gophers injuries Updated: September 16, 2014 - 10:57 AM

Gophers coach Jerry Kill said quarterback Mitch Leidner will practice today, with an eye toward playing Saturday against San Jose State.

Leidner sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee on Sept. 6 against Middle Tennessee State and added a toe injury in last Saturday’s loss at TCU. But his toe is not broken, Kill said.

Kill added that Leidner has turf toe, and has been cleared for practice by the team's training staff. Saturday's game is the final nonconference game before the Gophers open their Big Ten schedule at Michigan on Sept. 27.

Backup quarterback Chris Streveler has played in each of the team’s first three games and threw the lone touchdown pass against TCU.

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