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Megan Ryan

Reporter | College sports

Megan Ryan is a sports reporter at the Star Tribune covering colleges.

Ryan covered the Minnesota United FC during its first two years of existence. She previously spent two years at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette covering Penn State football, Robert Morris basketball and high school sports. A Minnesota native and Minneapolis resident, she graduated magna cum laude from the University of Minnesota with a major in journalism and minors in management and global studies. She has lived in Pennsylvania, Texas (covering the real Friday Night Lights for the Dallas Morning News) and New York (as a sports copy editor for a summer through the Dow Jones News Fund).
Recent content from Megan Ryan
Seth Green is planning to enter the NCAA transfer portal.

Gophers wildcat quarterback Green says he's going to transfer

The former East Ridge High standout is looking to play elsewhere in his final year of eligibility as a graduate transfer.
Gophers defensive lineman Ali Saad to transfer

Gophers defensive lineman Ali Saad to transfer

Saad had yet to play a game for the Gophers after his first season with the team.
Gophers football team adds lineman from Arizona on National Signing Day

Gophers football team adds lineman from Arizona on National Signing Day

The Gophers signed most of their 2021 football class back in December but still signed one new scholarship player on Wednesday.
Henry Lake hosts ‘‘Lake Night’’ on WCCO Radio on Monday to Friday from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., or after Twins and Timberwolves games.

Henry Lake uses show to mix sports with social responsibility

As one of the few Black radio hosts in the Twin Cities with his own daily program, Henry Lake uses his show on WCCO radio to mix sports talk with insights on social issues.
Avante Dickerson

Avante Dickerson, top recruit in Gophers' 2021 class, decommits

The Nebraska native did not sign with the rest of the class during December's early signing period and instead will sign with another team in February.
Casey O’Brien

Ex-Gopher Casey O'Brien to begin raising $1 million for U hospital project

O'Brien, a St. Paul native, recently retired from the Gophers football team after beating cancer five times.
Gophers receiver True Thompson enters the NCAA transfer portal

Gophers receiver True Thompson enters the NCAA transfer portal

The redshirt senior, who went to Cooper, will have one year of eligibility remaining thanks to the NCAA's extra year granted because of the pandemic.
Notre Dame’s Graham Slaggert (18) and Landon Slaggert (19) celebrated the game-winning goal Friday night against the Gophers. The Irish completed th

No. 1 Gophers hockey swept by Notre Dame

The Irish scored early in the first period to take control, and send the Gophers to their first losing streak of the season..
Gophers forward Sampo Ranta battled Notre Dame’s Solag Bakich (25), Zach Plucinski (26) and Jake Boltman during the second period.

Gophers hockey loses series opener, 3-2 at home to Notre Dame

After starting the season 10-0, the No. 1-ranked Gophers have now lost the past two series openers.
Jackson LaCombe has helped the Gophers’ blue line shine this season. Their defense is the nation’s second best.

Big turnaround: No. 1 Gophers men among best on defense in college hockey

Even coach Bob Motzko can't give you a tangible answer about why the Gophers defense has gone from porous to near-impenetrable in just a year
Gophers offensive line coach Brian Callahan, seen here expressing himself to a referee during a 2018 contest, gained two new players for his position

U football lands Utah State transfer, flips lineman who had committed to USC

Saia Mapakaitolo plans to officially sign in February, potentially along with Nebraska's Avante Dickerson, the No. 1 recruit in the Gophers class who hasn't yet signed.
Gophers holder Casey O’Brien set up for an extra point during a game in 2019.

Gophers holder, cancer survivor O'Brien is leaving football team

Casey O'Brien became a national story in the Gophers' 11-2 season in 2019, a season in which the now-five-time cancer survivor made his collegiate debut.
Nyles Pinckney (44) celebrated during last season’s national championship game for Clemson.

Gophers land Clemson defensive tackle as a graduate transfer

Nyles Pinckney, 6-1 and 300 pounds, played in 12 games and started two for the Tigers this season.
Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren called it “complicated and challenging” to navigate the conference through 2020. “But ... to be where we are t

New Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren hopes for a more settled 2021

The league's new boss faced pandemic, dropped sports in 2020.
United States goalie Spencer Knight (30) makes a save as Finland’s Henri Nikkanen (28) and United States’ Brock Faber (11) battle in front of the

Three gold-medal Gophers excited to be back on college ice

Jackson LaCombe, Ryan Johnson and Brock Faber were away from the Gophers for a month, helping the U.S. win a gold medal in Edmonton.
DAVID JOLES • Star Tribune Former Gophers offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca

Ex-Gophers offensive coordinator Ciarrocca fired after one year at Penn State

Kirk Ciarrocca had big success working with the Gophers and P.J. Fleck. But Penn State finished 4-5 this season.
Noah Hickcox (91) strip sacked quarterback Vic Viramontes (7) during the 2018 spring game.

Gophers defensive tackle Noah Hickcox to transfer

The lineman played in 26 games totaling seven tackles during his Gophers career.
Gophers cornerback Phil Howard, above breaking up a pass vs. Iowa, is among the many seniors who plan to return in 2021 after the NCAA gave everyone a

Freshmen, transfers will help U with depth for challenging 2021 season

Every player earned an extra year of eligibility to make up for shortened, delayed or even canceled seasons, which means 17 Gophers who should have exhausted their eligibility this season have a do-over in 2021.
Incoming Illinois football coach Bret Bielema, a former Wisconsin Badgers head coach, met with media Monday in Champaign, Ill. The Gophers will play h

Gophers' 2021 football schedule is something: Ohio State for openers, Cornhuskers for closers

Buckeyes for beginners. Badgers in the middle. Cornhuskers to close it out. This should be fun.
Coach P.J. Fleck asking quarterback Tanner Morgan to once again lead his Gophers — there aren’t many sure things about 2021, but this seems like t

Who starts for Gophers football in 2021? Here's an early analysis

Tough to predict August 2021 in December 2020, especially amid current conditions, but there were clues in 2020 that informed this Gophers projected starting lineup.
Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck, center right, and Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst great each other at midfield after Wisconsin defeated Minnesota in

Citing 'well-being off the field,' Gophers opt out of bowl game

The Gophers announced Sunday they would not seek nor accept a bowl invite after ending a trying regular season at 3-4. Four other Big Teams also opted out.
Mark Vancleave • Star Tribune Gophers coach P.J. Fleck consoled cornerback Benjamin St-Juste after the team’s loss to Michigan on Oct. 24.

Gophers cornerback Benjamin St-Juste declares for NFL Draft

St-Juste had one season of eligibility remaining with the Gophers and was a starter on defense.
Badgers beat Gophers in OT as turbulent Big Ten season ends

Badgers beat Gophers in OT as turbulent Big Ten season ends

Wisconsin held the Gophers to a field-goal attempt in overtime, with Anders Gelecinskyj missing the 36-yarder just wide. But Collin Larsh didn't miss his 30-yarder, giving the Badgers a second-consecutive victory.
Minnesota’s Josh Aune (29) and Austin Henderson walk off the field after Wisconsin defeated them in overtime on Saturday. The Gophers finished the r

Fleck: A Gophers bowl berth this season has meager upside

Gophers coach P.J. Fleck painted a grim picture of his players' holidays should the team receive and accept an invite to a bowl game.
Minnesota players raced to grab Paul Bunyan’s Axe in 2018

Gophers nearer to full strength against Wisconsin

While the team missed 33 players from COVID-19 positive tests and injuries last week against Purdue, they should have more reinforcements at Camp Randall on Saturday.
Purdue tight end Payne Durham, right, is tackled by Gophers  linebacker Mariano Sori-Marin (55) during the second half on Nov. 20

Gophers linebacker Sori-Marin keeping his job simple

Mariano Sori-Marin earned the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week award after posting a career-high 18 tackles and a forced fumble in the 24-17 win last Saturday at Nebraska.
After 15 years Minnesota took back the Paul Bunyan Axe after they defeated Wisconsin 37-15 at Camp Randall Stadium in 2018.

Gophers offensive coordinator Sanford to experience 'humongous' border rivalry firsthand

The Gophers will meet the Badgers for the 130th time Saturday, a rescheduled matchup after the Gophers' COVID-19 outbreak knocked out the original Nov. 28 game and threatened to make 2020 just the second time since 1890 the annual rivalry didn't happen.
When the Gophers and Badgers play, you can expect a physical game. This photo is from 2016 in Madison.

Megan Ryan's Border Battle prediction: Gophers vs. Badgers

Who gets Paul Bunyan's Axe for another year? College football writer Megan Ryan expects this year's game is going to be a grind.
Megan Ryan's Heisman vote: probably not one of the favored QBs

Megan Ryan's Heisman vote: probably not one of the favored QBs

Everyone knows the favorites for the Heisman Trophy. But going against the grain or in Sid Hartman's memory, there are two other good choices to consider.
Avante Dickerson

Gophers football signs its targets, except top recruit Dickerson

The Gophers added 19 players to their 2021 roster on Wednesday's early signing day, but the missing name from that list was a big one.
Shakopee defensive end Deven Eastern is one of two Minnesota high school players expected to sign scholarship letters of intent to join P.J. Fleck’s

Get to know the next Gophers in this Class of 2021 breakdown

These 17 scholarship players, plus a walk-on and a graduate transfer, signed with P.J. Fleck's Gophers in the early signing period that began Wednesday.
Shakopee’s Deven Eastern, a four-star defensive end recruit, was upfront with Gophers coach P.J. Fleck about the challenges he has faced, and that h

Shakopee's Eastern upfront about his challenges in joining Gophers

Deven Eastern has been candid about his struggle with emotional behavioral disorders, his mom, his devotion to football, his dream of playing in the NFL — and his desire to be a good man.
After 15 years Minnesota took back the Paul Bunyan Axe after defeating Wisconsin 37-15 at Camp Randall Stadium, Nov. 24, 2018 in Madison, Wis.

Battle for the Axe back on: Gophers and Badgers scheduled for Saturday

The rivalry game was called off by COVID last month and put back on the schedule Sunday when the Big Ten revised its plan for the final week of the regular season.
Gophers players celebrate after defensive lineman Boye Mafe sacked Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez on Saturday. Mafe missed the Gophers’ previo

Gophers play despite 33 players being unavailable

That total includes COVID and injury absences for team that missed two games in a row.
Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck leads his players onto the field before the first half of an NCAA college football game against Nebraska in Lincoln, N

Gophers get back to playing — and winning

Mohamed Ibrahim scored two touchdowns and deliberately avoided a third to ensure the Gophers would win at Nebraska in their return after two weeks off.
Gophers head coach P.J. Fleck, shown in a game last season at TCF Bank Stadium.

Gophers to face Nebraska with retooled offensive line

Gophers coach P.J. Fleck said the team would miss more than 20 players from COVID-19 after a recent outbreak.
Special moment Giddy Gophers celebrated a blocked kick, and later a win vs. Purdue, in their last game action.

Idled Gophers football finds motivation just being able to play again

With just two games left on the schedule, the Gophers could have resurfaced from a COVID-19 outbreak lacking any semblance of motivation. Instead, they preach reinvigoration.
Coney Durr

Megan Ryan's Gophers-Nebraska game prediction

Three story lines and more to know about Saturday's game
Nebraska cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt (5) breaks up a pass intended for Purdue wide receiver David Bell (3) last week.

Gophers Q&A: Five things to know about Nebraska football

Chris Basnett of the Lincoln Journal Star gives his insight on Nebraska, the Gophers' opponent on Saturday.
Gophers wide receiver Rashod Bateman (0) and tight end Brevyn Spann-Ford (88) celebrated Bateman’s touchdown vs. Iowa

Bateman's second departure giving Gophers' remaining receivers more chances

Rashod Bateman's first opt-out this summer gave Gophers offensive coordinator Mike Sanford Jr. time to plan for life without the star receiver.
Defensive back Phil Howard and the Gophers football team have been undergoing nearly daily testing for COVID-19 and dreading any positive results. “

Waiting for COVID-19 test results stressful for Gophers

The Gophers have only recently come down from a 49-case outbreak that caused them to cancel games against Wisconsin and Northwestern and shut down the facility for about two weeks.
Gophers add defensive tackle Luther McCoy to 2021 class

Gophers add defensive tackle Luther McCoy to 2021 class

The Florida native added his commitment Wednesday with the Dec. 16 signing day looming.
Tanner Morgan is happy to be back on the field after not playing for the past two weeks.

After two-week hiatus, just being at practice feels good for Gophers

Gophers football players are grateful to be on the field after being sidelined by COVID-19 issues.
Gophers football coach P.J. Fleck spoke to reporters during Monday’s video news conference.

Gophers on track to play Nebraska with COVID cases shrinking

Minnesota had to cancel its previous two games, against Wisconsin and Nebraska, when COVID cases reached 49.
Gophers head coach P.J. Fleck

Gophers football returns to practice, two new COVID cases reported

After canceled games with Wisconsin and Northwestern, the team's goal is to return to a regular routine next week and play a week from Saturday at Nebraska.
Gophers football coach P.J. Fleck walked the sideline during the Nov. 13 game against Iowa.

Largest virus outbreak in Big Ten forces U to call Northwestern game

The football team will miss a second consecutive game dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak that has affected 21 players and 26 staff members.
Gophers coach P.J. Fleck

Gophers football COVID-19 total reaches 40 confirmed cases

The Minnesota athletics department announced Saturday an additional 15 positive cases – eight players and seven staff – during the current pause to all football activities. That brings the total cases to 40, including 20 players and 20 staff members.
Gophers receiver Rashod Bateman is expected to be a first-round pick in the NFL draft.

Bateman ends his Gophers career by opting out again

Rashod Bateman, the reigning Big Ten receiver of the year, won't be back with the Gophers when their current pause for COVID-19 ends.
Gophers coach P.J. Fleck and his team had to cancel Saturday’s game at Wisconsin.

Thanksgiving will be anything but usual for idle Gophers football

Grab-and-go individual meals will replace the usual team gathering Thursday as Gophers football weathers a COVID-19 outbreak that has already canceled one game and is seriously threatening another.
In happier times, the Gophers carried Paul Bunyan’s Axe after defeating Wisconsin at Camp Randall in 2018.

Gophers cancel Saturday's game against Wisconsin because of COVID-19

This will mark the first time since 1906 that the annual border rivalry won't take place.
Gophers football coach P.J. Fleck encouraged his players during Friday’s 34-31 victory over Purdue.

Gophers cancel practice over COVID concerns, with Wisconsin up next

The Gophers said they aim to return to practice Wednesday and still play Saturday at Wisconsin.
Gophers running back Mohamed Ibrahim runs into the end zone for a touchdown against Purdue linebacker Kydran Jenkins in the second half.

Down 22 players, Gophers outlast Purdue after game was 'close' to not happening

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..
Gophers linebacker Josh Aune ran with the ball after an interception to seal Friday night's game vs. Purdue. One play earlier, the Boilermakers were f

Referees weigh in heavily in Gophers victory

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.
Under Tanner Morgan, the Gophers passed for 253 yards per game last year. They’ve averaged 192 in 2020.

Merely a shadow of 2019, where did the Gophers' offense go?

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.
If Rondale Moore makes his 2020 debut, it could mean a lot for Purdue's chances,

Megan Ryan's Gophers-Purdue game prediction

Purdue took its first loss of the season last week, a closely fought, one-touchdown game against undefeated Northwestern.
Gophers defensive back Michael Dixon attempted to recover a blocked punt in the first quarter vs. Michigan.

Ready or not, freshmen are getting playing time for Gophers football

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.
Gophers cornerback Phil Howard made sure Iowa receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette wouldn’t make a catch last Friday. The Minnesota Gophers played the Iowa

After deciding to stay, Howard getting chance to play for Gophers

Robbinsdale native Phil Howard is starting at cornerback in place of a teammate out with COVID-19.
Gophers coach P.J. Fleck

After years of improving records, Fleck copes with Gophers' 1-3 start

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.
Iowa defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon sacked Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan as the Hawkeyes poured it on in the second half at TCF Bank Stadium.

Iowa's latest romp sends Gophers to 1-3; turns testy at the end

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.

Gophers football notes: St-Juste sits out against Hawkeyes

The cornerback was absent from warm-ups ahead of the game, his starting spot opposite Coney Durr later taken by Phillip Howard.
Minnesota's tight end Maxx Williams, center, celebrated with the "Floyd of Rosedale" trophy after the Gophers defeated Iowa 51-14 in 2014. They haven'

Gophers are hog wild to beat Iowa, reclaim Floyd of Rosedale trophy

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.
Iowa Hawkeyes players and fans celebrated last year as they claimed the Floyd of Rosedale. Iowa beat the Gophers 23-19.

Megan Ryan's Gophers-Iowa game prediction

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.
Gophers defensive coordinator Joe Rossi

U defensive coordinator Rossi returns following virus absence

Joe Rossi missed last week's game at Illinois, quarantining at home but participating in team meetings virtually.
The Gophers' offensive line has been blasting open big holes for running back Mohamed Ibrahim, who rushed for 224 yards and four touchdowns against Il

U running backs reward their offensive line with sweet treats

After the Gophers offensive line again delivered for the offense, star running back Mohamed Ibrahim made a delivery to the team's linemen.
Gophers defensive end Boye Mafe leads the Big Ten with 3.5 sacks, including one on which he broke free and dragged down Maryland quarterback Taulia Ta

Defensive end Mafe leads Big Ten in sacks, but Fleck expects even more

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.
Defensive coordinator Joe Rossi missed the Gophers' game at Illinois on Saturday after testing positive for COVID-19. His status for Friday's game aga

Status of U defensive coordinator Rossi for Iowa game still unknown

Joe Rossi did not coach at Illinois on Saturday after testing positive for COVID-19 last week.
P.J. Fleck

Why did Fleck read team 'Everyone Poops' before beating Illinois?

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.
Minnesota running back Mohamed Ibrahim carries the ball during the first half

Gophers cruise to first victory of the season, pounding Illinois 41-14

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.
Gophers running back Treyson Potts is tackled by Illinois defensive back Tony Adams during the first half

Potts scores first touchdown for Gophers before getting hurt

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.
Gophers defensive lineman Boye Mafe sacks Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa during last week's game in College Park.

After making noise in '19, Gophers defense is less sound in 2020

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 haven’t connected in several phases this season, but with the 0-2 Illini coming to town there is no better time to turn things around.

Megan Ryan's Gophers-Illinois game prediction

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 quarterback Michael Penix Jr. throws during the second half against Penn State

Topsy-turvy Big Ten season leaves room for Gophers to reverse course

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.
Gophers defensive coordinator Joe Rossi.

Gophers defensive coordinator Rossi to miss Illinois game with COVID-19

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.
Gophers freshman receiver Daniel Jackson warmed up before Friday’s game against Maryland, then followed it up with his first career reception.

Freshman Jackson could follow Johnson, Bateman as U's next excellent receiver

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 coach Lovie Smith was down to his fourth quarterback when the Illini finished off its Big Ten loss to Purdue.

Gophers forced to expect the unexpected as they prepare for Illinois

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.