• Going into Thursday night’s matchup against San Diego, Broncos receiver Eric Decker was putting up some of the best numbers of any NFL receiver in what is turning into a breakout season for the former Gopher. Decker is ninth in the NFL in receiving yards (1,088), tied for eighth in first downs (51), tied for 11th in touchdowns (eight) and tied for 14th in receptions (71). Decker is a free agent at the end of the season, and it will be interesting to see if the Broncos decide to give him a franchise tag or offer him a long-term contract.
• Former Gophers quarterback/receiver MarQueis Gray was active for the Cleveland Browns for only the third time this season last Sunday. He had one catch for 3 yards, and has a total of two receptions for 8 yards this season.
• According to Gopher-Illustrated.com, the Gophers have gone to bowl games 11 times in the past 15 years (including this year’s Texas Bowl against Syracuse). That is more than Indiana, Purdue, Northwestern, Penn State and Illinois as well as the two teams joining the Big Ten, Maryland and Rutgers.
• Former Gophers basketball player Trevor Mbakwe continues to play well for Virtus RM in Italy. In nine games in Serie A, the highest league in Italy, Mbakwe is averaging 10.1 points, eight rebounds and two blocks in 25.8 minutes per game. … Another former Gopher, Ralph Sampson III, is playing for the Nilan Bisons in Finland and averaging 15 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks through two contests.
• Former Gopher Rodney Williams has played five games in the NBA D-League for the Delaware 87ers, the Philadelphia 76ers affiliate. Williams is averaging 8.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 30.6 minutes per game.
• One thing about Eden Prairie’s Class 6A champion football team: Nobody can say it didn’t play a tough schedule. “We played Wayzata, Minnetonka and Edina and Totino twice and Prior Lake and Lakeville North and Rosemount,” Eagles coach Mike Grant said. “We played all the best teams and still won. It’s a credit to the kids how well they played every week.”
• Former Gophers receiver Tony Levine, now head coach at the University of Houston, will lead the Cougars against Vanderbilt in the BBVA Compass Bowl on Jan. 4 after posting a 8-4 record in the regular season.
Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM at 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. email@example.com