Recent content from Megan Ryan
A combination of positive COVID-19 tests and injuries knocked out several players and coaches, but the Gophers still beat Purdue 34-31 at TCF Bank Stadium to improve to 2-3 in this shortened and delayed Big Ten season..
In Friday's 34-31 win for the Gophers, two controversial calls on Purdue's last-ditch drive sealed the Boilermakers' drop to 2-2.
Gophers coach P.J. Fleck said he counted an uncharacteristic eight drops in last week's 35-7 loss to Iowa. But that's not the only aspect of this offense that's been unrecognizable.
Purdue took its first loss of the season last week, a closely fought, one-touchdown game against undefeated Northwestern.
Graduations, injuries and COVID absences, especially on defense, have forced coach P.J. Fleck and defensive coordinator Joe Rossi to use young players who are still learning the ropes.
Robbinsdale native Phil Howard is starting at cornerback in place of a teammate out with COVID-19.
The only career trajectory P.J. Fleck has ever known has been up. So this season is providing a test beyond the Gophers 1-3 record in their first four games.
For the sixth consecutive year, the Gophers lost to the Hawkeyes, this time 35-7 to fall to 1-3 this season. A quartet of timeouts with 19 seconds to go in the blowout illustrated just how petty this border rivalry has become.
The cornerback was absent from warm-ups ahead of the game, his starting spot opposite Coney Durr later taken by Phillip Howard.
Heading into Friday's game against Iowa at TCF Bank Stadium, P.J. Fleck has demanded his players think about the trophy just before bed — count pigs instead of sheep — so the rivalry will infiltrate their dreams.
Two 1-2 teams both rebounded from winless starts this past weekend and are hoping that signaled a turnaround. Iowa, though, looked much stronger in those close opening losses.
Joe Rossi missed last week's game at Illinois, quarantining at home but participating in team meetings virtually.
After the Gophers offensive line again delivered for the offense, star running back Mohamed Ibrahim made a delivery to the team's linemen.
After not starting in the first two games, Boye Mafe broke into the Gophers starting lineup and played a key role in the victory over Illinois.
Joe Rossi did not coach at Illinois on Saturday after testing positive for COVID-19 last week.
Perhaps only coach P.J. Fleck could find the teachable moment in an unsavory set of performances by the Gophers in their first two games by reading them a children's book.
For the second consecutive game, the Gophers leaned heavily on running back Mohamed Ibrahim and he came through in a big way. This time, his career-best efforts resulted in a victory.
Treyson Potts had rushed three times for 49 yards, including a 36-yard gain and his 9-yard score before being carted off the sideline in the second quarter with a lower-leg injury.
The Gophers enter Saturday's matchup at Illinois averaging a Big Ten-worst 578 allowed offensive yards per game. Communication, plus lack of experience and leadership, have so far been lacking.
The Gophers' conference-worst defense meets Illinois, the conference's lowest-scoring offense. Meanwhile, COVID-19 has dramatically impacted both, making this outcome a real tossup.
Indiana and Northwestern are unbeaten. The Gophers, Penn State and Iowa are winless. Wisconsin, because of COVID-19, has only played once. This is the new normal.
Joe Rossi received the positive test result this week while undergoing the rapid-results testing per Big Ten policy. A following PCR test confirmed, and Rossi has been isolating at home and working remotely.
He's caught only one pass so far. But true freshman Daniel Jackson could become the next big name for Gophers fans in a program that has shown itself capable of developing some of the nation's best pass catchers.
Illinois was without 14 players last weekend because of positive virus tests and contact tracing, which means the Gophers aren't sure who they'll be preparing for when the teams play Saturday.
Assessing blame for the loss to a 20-point underdog could be endless. But Fleck said while in hindsight, he'd probably make some different calls, that's not always the case in the moment.
Coaching decisions, defensive shortcomings and one blown kick were the prominent factors, writes Megan Ryan in her Gophers Insider.
The Gophers took a late fade route after entering the fourth quarter with a big lead.
Mohamed Ibrahim tied a Gophers record with four rushing touchdowns in the first half. But Maryland stormed back to tie Friday's game late in the fourth quarter, and won 45-44 in OT when the Gophers missed an extra point.
A look back at Friday night's game.
Starting kicker Michael Lantz was back in action at Maryland on Friday night, marking the return of one of the team's starters. But he returned not to his usual field goals, but to kickoffs. That mattered in the end.
Friday night's game should be a slam-dunk for P.J. Fleck and the Gophers ... right?
Right guard Curtis Dunlap Jr. and right tackle Daniel Faalele both missed Saturday's 49-24 loss to Michigan, and according to a report both are out indefinitely.
A look back and a look ahead in the conference.
Ohio State, not surprisingly, is at the top. But where does Rutgers fall into the 14-team race?
A big focus in preparing for Friday night's game at Maryland has been clarifying gray areas for quarterback Tanner Morgan in reading situations on the field..
True freshman linebacker Cody Lindenberg didn't have the cleanest game vs. Michigan but he was praised for natural abilities shining through in his Gophers debut.
Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan blames himself first for the 49-24 loss to Michigan on Saturday, saying 'things run through me.'
With a rash of injuries and absences, the Gophers learned the hard way in their 49-24 loss to Michigan what happens when a team fails to adjust on the fly.
Even with a coronavirus pandemic confining him mostly to his home, Hartman arranged a ride to coach P.J. Fleck's house in mid-May, for a driveway interview.
After months of confusion about whether there'd be a Big Ten season at all, P.J. Fleck is back to having football dominate his time. But this year has taught Fleck how to coach in a new way: hands-off and from afar.
Georgia native Rashod Bateman, a likely first-round draft choice, already has a plan for after football: "I fell in love with Minnesota. I've thought about it, I think I'm going to retire and live on Lake Minnetonka."
The pandemic, jumbled schedules and social justice issues will combine to make 2020 unique.
Once a four-star recruit, Seth Green has never sulked despite roaming from tight end to receiver to wildcat quarterback during a Gophers career that created a flawed perception of Green's character.
Gophers fans are having to get creative or go without their beloved tradition of tailgating.
With another Gophers player opting out of the season Monday, coach P.J. Fleck warned more could follow before the Oct. 24 opener.
Across the Big Ten, athletic directors and coaches have touted the new testing protocols, while awkwardly acknowledging it's an advantage the general population doesn't have.
Rashod Bateman has asthma and was among the things that originally caused him to decide to opt-out of playing college football, a decision the U's star receiver has since reversed.
The Gophers athletics department released updated testing results Thursday, finding 55 positive results in the month of September.
"The Row the Boat culture has changed my life forever,' Rashod Bateman said in a video hyping his return that also explained why he's switching from No. 13 to No. 0.
When Bateman signed with an agent and accepted benefits — including money for housing, transportation and training — that terminated his amateur status under NCAA rules.
The Big Ten announced its new football schedule Saturday morning, with the Gophers opening at home vs. Michigan. They are also set to face Iowa on Nov. 14 and Wisconsin on Nov. 28.
The 2019 Big Ten receiver of the year had planned to sit out the season to prepare for the NFL draft. Now, he's hoping the NCAA will clear him to play for the Gophers.
The Big Ten will begin an eight-week football season Oct. 23-24, leading to a championship game. The schedule will include no byes, and everything hinges on the results of daily COVID-19 testing.
Gophers Athletic Director Mark Coyle said when he announced the cuts Thursday they stemmed from a combination of financial difficulties and Title IX issues.
AD Mark Coyle made a presentation before the board Friday, outlining the need for the cuts, and the regents expressed dismay but not opposition.
Three men's teams -- track and field, tennis and gymnastics -- will be terminated after this season in response to the financial strain caused by COVID-19 and gender equity issues.
Tampa Bay listed second-round draft pick Antoine Winfield Jr., who left the Gophers early, as its starting strong safety for Sunday's opener against New Orleans.
Two Minnesota legislators have joined other lawmakers from states with Big Ten universities, asking the conference to overturn its decision to cancel fall sports.
Thursday would have been the Gophers' season opener against Florida Atlantic. But COVID-19 concerns canceled fall sports and left a future full of questions.
The president was encouraged by his conversation with Kevin Warren on starting the football season this fall.
The athletic department released one round of results June 30 and reported seven positive cases of 170 administered tests, but he department has provided no further updates since.
Gophers Insider: College football is being played Saturday, although when Big Ten programs take to the field remains up in the air.
Jose Berrios didn't realize he'd be throwing to a new catcher Thursday night until team interpreter Elvis Martinez pointed out Ryan Jeffers to him before the game.
Gophers football coach P.J. Fleck said he thinks even in just a year from now, his deep team can accomplish another 11-win season or better.
Quarterback Tanner Morgan said his first reaction to hearing he wouldn't be playing football this fall was sadness.
College players' renewed call for representation feels more real than ever — and could emerge as the single most defining development from these past several months.
Gophers football coach P.J. Fleck said his players are disappointed about the fall season being called off but they believed the Big Ten made the right move.
Worries about whether there will be a football season are set aside, but concerns about health are not.
P.J. Fleck and the Gophers football staff have encouraged players to make safe choices when they leave campus and go back to their apartments.
"We all have our own circumstances, and we have our own families, and we all have our own choices to make," Gophers coach P.J. Fleck said.
Gophers football player Benjamin St-Juste and more than 1,000 other Big Ten football players found a collective voice following the killing of George Floyd in May while in Minneapolis police custody.
P.J. Fleck's team is coming off a No. 10 finish, but star receiver Rashod Bateman has opted out to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft.
"Due to the uncertain nature of COVID-19, and the fiscal constraints it has placed on the department, philanthropic support is needed now more than ever," the athletic department posted on Gophersports.com.
Following Minnesota Department of Health guidelines, the athletics department could allow only 1,500 fans at TCF Bank Stadium, forcing the department to anticipate "few spectators or no spectators at all."
The College Athlete Unity group called for more protective measures for playing during the pandemic. Gophers football player Benjamin St. Juste is among the organizers.