SAN DIEGO – Gophers starting center Tyler Moore is out with a back injury, so Matt Leidner will be starting the Holiday Bowl, giving snaps to his brother, Mitch.

Moore has started the previous 20 games at center, so that's a big blow for the Gophers. They had also hoped to get Jared Weyler (torn triceps) back for the bowl game, but he is out, too.

Jonah Pirsig is starting at right tackle, but he did some snapping with the second-team offense, just in case.

Well, the Holiday Bowl is finally here. It seems like a lifetime ago that the Gophers found out they’d be playing Washington State here today (ESPN, 6 p.m., Central). That was Dec. 4, nine days before 10 players got suspended, which led to the two-day boycott, etc.

A few quick notes:

* It’s going to be interesting to see how well Coney Durr plays as a starting cornerback. He was a prized recruit who picked Minnesota over Virginia Tech. The Gophers burned his redshirt earlier this season and used him on special teams for six games. But it seemed like somewhat of a wasted season of eligibility for him – until now. He’ll get thrown into the fire tonight against one of the best passing offenses in football.

* On a personal note, it’s great to be back at Qualcomm Stadium. I covered the San Diego Padres here in 1998 for the North County Times in Escondido. That was the year Tony Gwynn, Greg Vaughn and Kevin Brown led them to the World Series. That’s the season that spurred San Diego voters to approve funding for a new downtown ballpark, and after years of hand-wringing, they eventually built beautiful Petco Park.

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