It was just one game, and then again it wasn't.
That's how I look at quarterback Tanner Morgan's stat line and performance from the Gophers' stunning 14-10 loss to Bowling Green on Saturday: 5 of 13 for 59 yards, two interceptions and a lost fumble — with those two picks coming on the last two drives of the day when Minnesota had a chance to rescue a victory.
It was a low point in the P.J. Fleck era, much of which has come with Morgan — now a fourth-year starter — as his QB.
But it also was the continuation of a trend of slippage and regression since Morgan's sterling 2019 season when he completed 66% of his passes, threw 30 touchdowns and just seven interceptions as the Gophers went 11-2.
Morgan's passer rating that year? 178.7 (remember, the college passer rating formula is different than the NFL's, leading to much higher numbers). Last year it was 128.1. This year it's 124.0.
It's enough to make you wonder if a quarterback change could be coming if this keeps up, something I mentioned to Gophers football beat writer Randy Johnson on Tuesday's Daily Delivery podcast.
There are plenty of extenuating circumstances to explain Morgan's drop in production. Last year wasn't normal for anyone. This year Morgan had the heartbreak of the death of his father, Ted. We can't be insensitive to those things. They are real life — more important than football but also capable of influencing on-field play.
And of course Morgan isn't throwing to current NFL receivers Rashod Bateman and Tyler Johnson like he was in 2019. How much they influenced Morgan's success in 2019 is hard to perfectly calibrate, but the drop-off since that year is hard to ignore.
Fleck doesn't seem inclined to consider a change yet, Johnson noted on the podcast, and I think that's fair. Saturday's loss was hardly all on Morgan, though it was alarming to see how little faith the Gophers seemed to have in their passing game.
But it bears watching, particularly with Zack Annexstad — originally named the starter in 2018 as a true freshman before Morgan took over midyear — still on the roster and especially if Morgan has more games like he did Saturday.