Ra’Shede Hageman and De’Vondre Campbell, two former Gophers defensive standouts and teammates at Minnesota in 2013, played important roles for the Falcons in their 44-21 victory over the Packers that earned Atlanta a trip to the Super Bowl.
Hageman, in fact, had one of the most talked-about defensive plays of the game when he made a strong bull rush up the middle and then sacked Aaron Rodgers from his stomach by reaching out and tripping the Packers’ QB with his hand.
The play came on 2nd-and-10 with Atlanta leading 17-0 just before halftime. Rodgers was intercepted on the ensuing third-and-long attempt, and the Falcons scored another TD just before half to take a commanding 24-0 lead.
Hageman was also in on two tackles for losses in the second half — giving him three of Atlanta’s six TFLs — as the Falcons cruised to the victory.
Campbell, meanwhile, also had three tackles from his linebacker spot. He was also credited with one of the Falcons’ seven hits on Rodgers.
Hageman, a second-round pick of the Falcons in 2014 after a standout final season with the Gophers in 2013, had just 18 tackles during the regular season and has just 61 in three years with the Falcons. But the former Minneapolis Washburn star came up huge on Sunday.
Campbell, a Falcons rookie after being chose in the fourth round of the 2016 draft following a big year with the Gophers in 2015, finished the regular season with 48 tackles, a forced fumble and an interception.
The duo will be the first ex-Gophers to play in a Super Bowl since wide receiver Eric Decker went to Super Bowl XLVIII three years ago with Denver and lost to Seattle. No former U player has won a Super Bowl since tight end Matt Spaeth earned a ring with the Steelers eight years ago in Super Bowl XLIII.