Spectacular day for homecoming here at TCF Bank Stadium. The Gophers will face Ohio at 2:30 p.m, on Big Ten Network. The tailgate lots were alive and well, when I pulled up on the Green Line.
In my coverage this week, one thing I didn't get to was this stat from PhilSteele.com, which ranks the Gophers No. 1 in the country in pass efficiency defense formula, ahead of such teams as Ohio State, Virginia Tech, Florida and UCLA.
Using the standard passer rating defense, the Gophers rank 10th in the nation. What's cool about Steele's metric, is he combines that with the caliber of pass offenses each team has faced. So the Gophers are being rewarded for holding TCU's high-flying offense to 246 passing yards.
This is something to note, as the Gophers will be facing Ohio's Derrius Vick today, one of the most accurate passers in the country.
I focused my advance story on what happens to teams with dominant defenses that are bogged down by dormant offenses. Sophomore Cody Poock stands out among the Gophers' solid linebacker corps. Columnist Patrick Reusse writes that Jerry Kill needs thicker skin. And here's, The Call, with my breakdown of the matchups and prediction for the game.
Check out the Star Tribune Live Blog: a great way to follow the action inside and outside TCF Bank Stadium.
Check back here for other pregame updates and a halftime blog, etc.
Update: The Gophers will honor former standout running back Laurence Maroney today. Maroney set the team's single-season rushing record in 2005, with 1,464 yards. David Cobb broke that mark last season with 1,626.
Maroney, who played in the 2008 Super Bowl for the Patriots, back in his hometown of St. Louis now, where he's working with rapper J-Kwon in the entertainment business and giving time to kids in the community.
Asked what it meant to him watching Cobb re-establish the Gophers' rushing tradition, Maroney said: "I was really proud of him because after me and Marion [Barber] left, the running back spot, it did good. But it wasn’t the same. And just to see him come back and really breathe life into the position, it brought tears to my eyes, like, 'Oh, we’re getting the running game back.' That’s good, that’s a great start. So I texted him and everything and told him congratulations."
Update: The Gophers are wearing gold helmets, maroon jerseys and gold pants today.
Update: The Gophers will have the same starting offensive line as last week, as Sid Hartman reported. Demry Croft got all the second-team quarterback reps in warm-ups again. Shannon Brooks and Berkley Edwards both got reps as the second-team tailback.