Growing up in Pensacola, Fla., Gophers safety Damarius Travis was a big Ed Reed fan. He followed Reed closely with the Ravens and saw highlights from his days as an All-America safety at Miami.
“He was always my favorite,” Travis said Wednesday. “He was a ball hawk and a heavy hitter.”
Those same words could describe the way Travis is playing for the Gophers. The junior safety has 23 tackles, two interceptions, five pass breakups, one forced fumble and 2½ tackles for a loss.
Travis made one of the biggest plays in last week’s 39-38 victory against Purdue, when he stopped Purdue quarterback Austin Appleby short of a first down on fourth-and-1 midway through the fourth quarter.
“I feel like I’m having a pretty good season,” Travis said. “I need to get better on my technique and just get better all the way around. I’m not satisfied yet because we want to win that Big Ten championship — that’s our overall goal.”
The Gophers drew two penalties on extra points against Purdue. A false start after their first touchdown backed them up 5 yards, but they still made the kick. But when they got pushed back another 5 yards after their third touchdown for an illegal formation — with a player lined up too far off the edge — they missed that kick off the upright.
“Those are things you can’t afford to do; we missed an extra point,” Gophers coach Jerry Kill said. “That’s a sign the coach is not doing a good enough job, lack of discipline. So we’ve got to get that stuff straightened out.
“There’s a difference between a dumb penalty and an aggressive penalty. … You should never have a penalty on a PAT.”