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Souhan on Sports

Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene

Souhan blog: Gophers find running back, may need to look for quarterback

Takeaways from the Gophers' 23-17 loss to TCU on Thursday night at TCF Bank Stadium:

-:Freshman Rodney Smith should be the Gophers' starting running back.

He's better than Rodrick Williams, who isn't as shifty and fumbled near the goal line on Thursday night.

Smith can make defenders miss and knows how to finish runs. He may replace Cobb's workload, but he can do a fair impression.

-Jerry Kill does not like being questioned about his play-calling. One local reporter asked about the Gophers running the ball so much near the end of the game, and Kill noted that TCU was playing six defensive backs, then said, ``I guess I'm not a very good coach.''

-Rodney Smith could be fun to have around. Asked whether he was nervous, Smith said, ``Kill said if you're not nervous you're not human. So I guess I'm a machine.''

-Neither Kill nor his players seemed devastated by the loss. K.J. Maye and Smith were smiling. Kill was matter-of-fact. What did Kill say to TCU coach Gary Patterson, his close friend, at the end of the game?

Kill: ``He said `We're never going to play each other again.' I said, `That's right.' ''

My take:

For all of the positive vibes around the Gophers, they've lost five of their last seven games.

And they've lost most of those games for the same reason - the inability to hit key passes, or open passes, that could have altered the outcomes.

Mitch Leidner wasn't very good on Thursday night. Chris Streveler is a runner in a quarterback's jersey. I think freshman Demry Croft has a chance to play this season. If Leidner doesn't look like he's capable of beating a good team, I think Croft could end up taking over.

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New episodes with Michael Russo, Roy Smalley and Viking Update's Tim Yotter are up at MalePatternPodcasts.com. The first episode of Jim Peteersen's Minnesota Hoops will be up tomorrow, as well as my latest chat with Matt Birk and another with Saints manager George Tsamis.

You can listen to all podcasts at the website or via ITunes or any podcast ap. Thanks.

We'll be running the Russo-Souhan Show from Tom Reid's Hockey City Pub starting October 1.

@Souhanstrib

Souhan blog: Twins play clean, win games

The Twins won on Tuesday for many reasons, but the biggest contrast between them and the White Sox, last night and all season, was the cleanliness of play.

The White Sox were butchers, commiting two key errors, while the Twins played another clean game, with no errors and no drastic mistakes in any other area of the game. The Twins won, 8-6, for their ninth victory in 11 games.

Miguel Sano went 3-for-5 in typical fashion. He hit a single to right, a single to left, a home run into the second deck in left, and struck out twice. He might be the half-season MVP in the American League.

Other than starter Tyler Duffey's implosion in the fifth inning, there was a nagging sequence. Closer Glen Perkins not only gave up three hits and a run in the ninth, he failed to cover first on a ground ball to Joe Mauer. He seemed to break late off the mound and had no chance to get to first base in time.

That would be a horrible thing, to lose a game in a playoff race because a veteran pitcher didn't cover first base in time.

-Twins manager Paul Molitor said he was concerned with Sano's sore hamstring. Sano couldn't score from second on a hit to the outfield, and slow-jogged his home run trot to protect his leg.

-Byron Buxton's speed showed up on the bases twice. He scored standing up on a short sacrifice fly to center. After White Sox third baseman Tyler Saladino let Buxton's grounder through his legs and into short left, Buxton got to second so fast he didn't draw a throw.

-The Twins are 41-25 at home, and 27-38 on the road. They have a chance to make this a dominant home stand in the next two days. They beat White Sox ace Chris Sale again, and get to face Carlos Rodon (4.15 ERA) and Jeff Samardzija (4.85 ERA) the next two days. The White Sox are 28-37 on the road.

-Sano has reached base in 16 straight games and has homered in seven of his last 13. He's hitting .337 at Target Field with eight homers.

-Brian Dozier hit his 34th double of the season, a career best.

-Eduardo Escobar has reached base safely in seven straight games.

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The latest at MalePatternPodcasts.com: The latest MalePatternPurple with Viking Update publisher Tim Yotter, as well as the latest episodes with Roy Smalley and Michael Russo. Plus, a full archive of my interviews under SouhanUncensored.

@Souhanstrib

Final, 9/3 R H E
Chicago White Sox 62-70 6 10 1
Minnesota 69-64 4 7 0

Today's Scoreboard

  • Chicago White Sox

    Minnesota

     

    - F

    6

    4

  • Atlanta

    Washington

     

    - F

    1

    15

  • Pittsburgh

    Milwaukee

     

    - F

    3

    5

  • Detroit

    Kansas City

     

    - F

    7

    15

  • San Francisco

    Colorado

     

    - F

    3

    11

  • LA Dodgers

    San Diego

     

    - F

    7

    10

  • Chicago

    New York

     

    - F

    82

    60

  • Tulsa

    Seattle

     

    - F

    85

    67

  • Washington

    Los Angeles

     

    - F

    91

    93

No games for MLS

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