Minnesota Golden Gophers And Indiana Hoosiers Preview And Final

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Preview

I have said many times here that I believe every year we are going to the Rose Bowl and that every weekend we will win that game.

   

People around here, including Sid Hartman, are talking about how this is the first of a three game win streak to get to a bowl game. Huh, that seams like a bit of a stretch to me. Indiana is beatable, Michigan State looks lost, and Iowa has fallen apart.

   

OK, I will drink the Kool-Aid they are serving up. It’s colored maroon and gold. Count me in.

   

I have written in previous weeks that I had seen a few Indiana Hoosier football games on TV and they look good. They are young. I am concerned that they will play us like the Randle El teams of old and that never worked out well for us.

   

Kellen Lewis is a red shirt freshman and I sort of look forward to seeing him play his college career. I think he will be better than Randle El when it is all said and done. He was last weeks Big Ten Player of the Week.

   

James Hardy is around 6’ 6” and he will clearly have an advantage over our undersized secondary.

   

Marcus Thigpen is their running back and returner and he is quick.

   

Indiana’s defense is not very good.

   

Sounds like Matt Spaeth is returning this week. He will be fitted with a special brace and surgery will be required at the end of the season.

   

Spaeth is another reason I support this team. He could very well be a first round draft choice in the 2007 NFL Draft. Playing on a team that needs to win three games to go to a bowl game. Is seriously injured and is putting his team and university above his own self-interest.

   

Prediction

I do not think we can play as bad as we have the rest of the season. Indiana comes in on a roll and I am thinking they cannot keep it going. It will be interesting to see how the home crowd on a homecoming game reacts to Coach Mason if things do not go well.

   

Minnesota by 10. That’s my heart talking, not so much my brain.

   

Indiana Hoosiers blogs

Maybe I did not spend enough time looking but I did not find any blogs about Hoosier football.

   

Big Ten Predictions

Last weeks results, 5-1 (19-5)

   

Minnesota over Indiana

Wisconsin over Penn State

Iowa over Northwestern

Michigan over Ball State

Ohio State over Illinois

Purdue over Michigan State

   

Final

Minnesota Golden Gophers 63 and Indiana Hoosiers 26

Happy Homecoming!!!

   

Lost and now found, the Minnesota Golden Gopher football team. Also found, the pass first to open up the run we were promised back in August.

   

Better late than never.

   

Scoring 21 points in the first quarter and being up 35-0 half way through the second quarter is a good way to start a game. With all that has happened in recent weeks that was one of the best games on both sides of the ball I have seen. Yeah I know it was against Indiana but remember that they have been playing well in recent weeks and this season in general.

   

At halftime the Gophers had 355 yards, 303 by air.

   

By the end of the game Minnesota had 541 total yards on offense.

   

Logan Payne and Ernie “I used stick ‘em this week” Wheelwright had 200+ yards between them.

   

The defense had multiple sacks and interception.

   

As the season has moved on and at least in the Dome, Joel Monroe has been doing a much better job of kicking the ball into the end zone, limiting the number if kick returns.

   

That was a lot of fun and yes I feel much, much better.

   

Notes

-Bryan Cupito is named Co-Offensive Player of the Week sharing the honor with Tyrell Sutton, Running Back from Northwestern University.

-Bryan Cupito was nominated as one of four players for this week’s Cingular All-America Player of the Week Award.

-Bryan Cupito is #2 in career passing yards, passing Asad Abdul-Khaliq.

-Ernie Wheelwright is now tied for 6th in career touchdown receptions.

   

Statistics

Rushing

Jay Thomas, 79 yards and 2 touchdowns

Amir Pinnix, 68 yards and 1 touchdown

   

Receiving

Logan Payne, 137 yards

Ernie Wheelwright, 116 yards and 2 touchdowns

Eric Decker, 55 yards and 1 touchdown

Matt Spaeth, 30 yards and 1 touchdown

   

Passing

Bryan Cupito, 22-33 for 378 yards

   

Defense

Dominic Barber, 1 interception and 1 touchdown

DJ Jones, 1interception

Mike Sherels, 1 interception


Minnesota Golden Gophers And Ohio State Buckeyes Preview And Final

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Preview

Before getting into this weeks game there is another Coach Mason quote worth talking about. At the North Dakota State post game press conference he said:

"This is the kind of game that puts a smile on your face. When you're out coached and outplayed and still win."

It’s just not worth getting a rant over other than to say this, maybe we do need to reconsider his employment.

   

It’s been a while since I have said this and mostly because I have been bitter with the coaching staff. I believe before every season we are going to the Rose Bowl and each Saturday we will win the game, or at least have a chance.

   

This week is an exception.

   

I heard that some players were using the analogy that if the Bison were able to keep it close with the Gophers that the Gophers can keep it close with the Buckeyes?

   

Huh? What? Speechless…

   

Coach Mason heads back to his alma mater. For those that do not know our wide receivers coach Luke Tressel is Ohio State football Head Coach Jim Tressel’s son.

   

Here is my hope for the game today, that our team plays respectable football. We have 18 some players from the state of Ohio on our team and most of them would like to have been given an invitation to play in Columbus.

   

We played well at the Metrodome last year and ran up a lot of yards on the then #1 defense on the country

   

With guys like Troy Smith, Ted Ginn Jr., Anthony Gonzalez and James Laurinaitis (another Minnesota kid that got away) my feeling is that Ohio State could take on the worst team in the NFL and stick with them for the 1st half. After that the size and speed of the NFL team would do them in.

   

Matt Spaeth has suffered a severe shoulder injury and could be out for the season. He will be replaced with Jack Simmons.

   

Ohio State Football Blogs:

Men of the Scarlet and Gray

Around the Oval

Buckeye Commentary

   

Big Ten Predictions

Last weeks results 5-1 (14-4)

   

I thought I was going to have my first 6-0 weekend but Northwestern surrendered the largest comeback in Division I-A history. The positive side is that the Minnesota and Ohio State game of 1989 comes off the record books as tied for the largest comeback.

   

Ohio State over Minnesota

Michigan over Northwestern

Wisconsin over Illinois

Indiana over Michigan State

Iowa over Northern Illinois

Purdue over Penn State

   

Final

Minnesota Golden Gophers 0 and Ohio State Buckeyes 44

   

My gut reaction to this one is a little sarcastic and yes I know Ohio State is #1 in the country. Here goes…

   

MEDIC!!! We need a medic over here. They have at best a faint pulse and shallow breathing. Where did our offense go? Has anyone seen them? OK, I feel better now.

   

Today I was reminded why even though we do not have the greatest team I like our team. I like their character on and off the field. I like them as students and people. I like that they played hard.

   

I hope that for all of those who said bad things about Dominic Jones after the fumble in the Penn State game saw his play yesterday. He came to play. He had a couple of nice plays on Ted Ginn and he had an awesome hit on Ray Small.

   

After knocking Small on his back Jones celebrated with his teammates until he saw that Small was not just down, he was out. Jones settled himself and took off his helmet and looked on as the Buckeye trainers took care of Small. Once Small sat up Jones went over too him and offered him a hand in respect. Dominic Jones, class act.

   

Now having seen Ohio State, Michigan, and Cal and watching most if not all of the highly ranked teams on TV there is no doubt in my mind Ohio State is #1.

   

Statistics

Rushing

Amir Pinnix, 46 yards

   

Receiving

Jack Simmons, 48 yards

   

Passing

Bryan Cupito, 13-25 for 120 yards and 3 interceptions, sacked 2 times

   

Defense

Steve Davis, 1 sack


Laurence Maroney Comments On Gopher Football

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Laurence Maroney and the New England Patriots play the Minnesota Vikings this week. Maroney was asked some questions about returning to the Metrodome and about the Gopher football program.

   

From the Star Tribune article Maroney says Mason can utilize talent better and Mercury News article Former Gopher Maroney appears to have his doubts about Mason:

Asked if he had heard about the "Fire Mason" chants during recent home games, former Gophers running back Laurence Maroney, a rookie first-round draft pick of the New England Patriots, said, "I'm not going to get up on that because it's none of my business. But we [Minnesota] got a great group of guys that can play.

   

"Sometimes, I feel like Mason doesn't realize the talent that he does have. He overlooks a lot of people. I don't know for what reason, but he overlooks a lot of people. He doesn't give them a chance. They have a great receiving corps, a great running back corps, and he just doesn't know how to use what he has sometimes."

And:

During his first two seasons at Minnesota, Maroney teamed with Marion Barber III, now a key member of the Dallas Cowboys' backfield.

   

"Even though I did play a lot, there was a lot more than me and Marion," Maroney said.

   

"We had great receivers. We had [Aaron] Hosack and a lot of other receivers.

   

"I don't think [Mason] knew how much talent he really had on the team. I think he got so far caught up into how good we were running the ball. If we wanted to, we could have spread the field effectively.

   

"But it's been like that for awhile," Maroney added. "They've been stuck in this running mentality that they really don't know what type of receivers they have. So they really haven't given them a chance."

And:

Mason didn't seem upset by Maroney's comments when contacted Wednesday evening.

   

"I believe in freedom of speech," Mason said. "I've always had a great relationship with Laurence. He never expressed anything like that to me."

   

Maroney said Mason's coaching wasn't a factor in him leaving school early for the NFL. He leads the Patriots and all NFL rookies in rushing with 361 yards on 86 carries (a 4.2-yard average) with three touchdowns.

   

"I rushed for 1,000 yards every year in college. What else was there to prove?" he said.

   

"Did I want to take my next 200 or 300 hits in college or the NFL?"

   

Maroney emphasized that he feels Mason should keep his job.

   

"I don't think they need a new coach," he said. "I just think he needs to open his eyes and look at his team."

I completely agree with Maroney’s take on Coach Mason. That and the need of PR help. By the way, I am also still waiting on the opening up of the offense and some passing of the ball.


Gopher Football Game From The Students Perspective

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Last week Coach Mason suggested that the drunkenness, more like his perception of it, be looked at by Fox 9 News. The same station that did it’s “investigative” report on underage drinking by the Gopher men’s hockey team last year.

   

Looks like the Star Tribune took him up on it with this, Students' sobering reality rings through loud and clear. A reporter was in the student section for the North Dakota State game.

   

In part:

Seivert wasn't drunk. A lengthy tailgater chased by some of those $6 Metrodome beers might have made the game easier to take, but the senior chose to suffer sober. He did not do so quietly, and neither did most of his fellow students.

   

As they watched the Gophers stumble to a 10-9 victory over Division I-AA North Dakota State, several students took issue with Mason's remarks last week. Those with beers in their hands and those without refuted Mason's contention that alcohol fueled some of their unhappiness with this rapidly unraveling season. And in case he still believed their boos were meant for the players, they sprinkled in enough "Fire Mason" chants to clear up any confusion.

And:

As another "Fire Mason" chant rippled through the student section, the band quickly struck up a tune that drowned it out. The musicians were roundly booed.

   

In case there was any doubt left, the students quashed it at the game's end. When the Gophers blocked Shawn Bibeau's 42-yard field-goal attempt with one second remaining, their supporters leaped and hugged wildly, screamed with joy and cheered the players off the field.

   

Then, when Mason trotted toward the tunnel, they stopped clapping, cupped their hands around their mouths and booed until he disappeared.

And:

Ashford Kroll, a fifth-year student, said the fact that she and so many other students continue to show up proves that they support the team. The coach is a different matter. "I'm a fan, no matter what," she said. "I think this team is still developing. But I do think Mason's time is over."

   

By the way, she wasn't drunk, either. "I'm too cheap," she explained. "Do you know what they charge for a beer at this place?"

Hopefully that puts an end to who the students are booing and the amount of alcohol that is (or is not) being consumed.


Minnesota Golden Gophers And North Dakota State Bison Preview And Final

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Preview

In order to have bought a ticket to the Iowa game one had to buy a ticket to the North Dakota State Bison football game. From a ticket sales viewpoint that makes sense. Milk the Hawkeyes for some more cash besides what they will spend at the Mall of America.

   

But how “green” will the Dome be on Saturday? My brother has decided not to drive from Alexandria for fear of running into a North Dakota traffic jam on Interstate 94. While I am thinking about it this is a public service message for those from North Dakota. The left lane is a passing lane. Not a cruising lane. Not a lane to drive at various speeds while on your cell phone.

   

Thank you.

    

A lot of people have been saying this is a no win situation for the Gophers. Win big, no one cares. Lose, and those living in the maroon and gold world will implode.

   

The Bison are ranked in the top 10, 6 I think, in 1-AA. They have a good team and quite a few of their players could see playing if they played for Minnesota and other large schools.

   

My concern is the hangover or now funk we seem to be in will carry into this week or worse yet completely over looking this game and to Ohio State.

   

The Gophers will be wearing 1960’s era jerseys. Lets hope we play that way Saturday and the rest of the season.

   

Trumaine Banks is out for the season after breaking his arm against Wisconsin. Dominic Jones will be moved from Strong Safety to Cornerback with Duran Cooley taking Banks spot.

   

North Dakota State Football Blogs

None that I could find

   

Big Ten Predictions

Last weeks results 4-2 (9-3)

   

Minnesota over North Dakota State

Ohio State over Indiana

Michigan over Iowa

Wisconsin over Purdue

Northwestern over Michigan State

Penn State over Illinois

   

Final

Minnesota Golden Gophers 10 And North Dakota State 9

   

A disclaimer. In 1982 when the Gophers moved to the Dome my father purchased 2 season tickets. I have seen many, many odd games (Wisconsin, Purdue, and Ohio State are the usual suspects) over the years. I have seen the Gophers be blown out (Oklahoma and Nebraska come to mind) and give it to others.

    

In all of this time I have missed only 10 games all due to being sick with one thing or another and this years Temple game for the funeral of my grandma. I have missed a few weddings of family members but made it the receptions. My family and friends know where my commitment is on Saturdays in the fall when the Gophers play at home.

   

I did not attend the game against North Dakota State for no reason other than I did not want to. I was behind in work, had not slept much during the week, and frankly did not care about the game. I did make sure I gave my tickets to a friend and his son and yes they are Gopher fans. I would never give my tickets to someone not wearing the maroon and gold.

   

As for the game itself (I did watch it on TV) worse than winning big or losing is what happened. Gopherland in celebration after a blocking a Bison field goal to not lose the game just does not look or feel good.

   

As the Gophers made their way off the field the students made a point to cheer for their peers but as the coaching staff made their way to the tunnel the boo’s were heard again. Maybe now Coach Mason understand who the fans are frustrated with and who they think should be held accountable for the season.

   

I understand that during the game when the student section started the “Fire Mason” chant the U of M Marching band would start playing to drown out the students. Hmmm, I would like to know who came up with that plan.

   

62,845 was the paid attendance and from what I saw on TV and heard from those at the game, at least half were cheering for the Bison. I hate to say this but I feel bad for the Bison. They were the better team.

   

Statistics

Rushing

Amir Pinnix, 97 yards and 1 TD

   

Receiving

Matt Spaeth, 49 yards

   

Passing

Bryan Cupito, 10-24 for 150 yards and sacked 2 times

   

Defense

Willie VanDeSteeg, 1 sack

Todd Meisel, 1 sack

Neel Allen, 1 sack

Jamal Harris, 1 interception


Coach Glen Mason Comments

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Updated January 2, 2007 at 2:00 am:

Since this post Coach Glen Mason has been fired.

   

Link for Minnesota Golden Gopher Football Coach Search And Possible Candidates

Link for Minnesota Golden Gophers 41 and Texas Red Raiders 44, Review

Link for Minnesota Golden Gopher Football Coach Glen Mason Has Been Fired

Link for my reaction after the game Fire Coach Glen Mason?

Link for Minnesota Golden Gophers And Texas Tech Red Raiders Preview

   

Original Post:

As if we needed any more controversy around the coach and his staff, Coach Mason decided he wanted to get some things off of his chest.

   

Or as I would call it, he decided to stick his foot in his mouth.

   

I do not think Coach Mason should be fired but I do think he needs to get a public relations person and work on his people skills. When John Gutekunst and Jim Wacker were fired people felt bad they were leaving. They made a connection with the fans, university and media.

   

Not Coach Mason.

   

Here is what he had to say at his Tuesday, October 17 press conference:

“If you're mad at the coach, whatever, but those kids are your team,' Mason said. 'What I really like to say is, fine, if you don't like me that's one thing. But do you love the Gophers? Are you really a Gopher fan? Now ask yourself that question. Because you can't be doing some of the things if you are. You can't because those are kids out there. You ought to be supporting those kids. Even though you might not be yelling their name it affects them negatively. I don't think that's very smart.”

And:

"We serve alcohol in that stadium. Not many college stadiums do that. I was at one game, looking up there, I thought, 'Where's Fox News? There's a lot of underage drinking out there because I know that guy ain't 21."

HEY COACH!!! Most of the people booing were season ticket holders and they were booing you and your coaching staff. Any person with common sense, including your players, knows whom they were booing. The students were not chanting, “Fire Our Players”, they were chanting “Fire Mason”.

   

Hey buddy, that’s you.

   

You might not want to throw your players under the bus like that unless you want an "accidental" football dinging you off the side of your head in practice.

   

Coach Mason, you are making it hard for us devout followers of the Gopher football program to support it. I am tired of taking crap for being a fan.

   

To the drinking of students, now you are showing how out of touch you are. Do the demographics and you would know that most of the students are not 21. The Metrodome does a good job asking for ID’s.

   

And how the heck can most college students afford $6 a beer?

   

Are some drinking before the game? I would bet they are. But you make it seem like the kids are crazy out of control. Only with you Coach are they getting that way.

   

Either you do not understand the community in which you live and coach or you do not care. Either way, shame on you.

   

Someone get Coach Mason some PR help and quick.


Minnesota Golden Gophers And Wisconsin Badgers Preview And Final

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Preview

Oh how I have a bad feeling about this one. Sort of like waking up the day after drinking Leinenkugel’s and sausage filled with cheese. Not that I have ever consumed anything like that, the beer yes the sausage/cheese no. But in keeping with the Wisconsin Badger football theme…

   

I have an emotional hangover from last week. Seems like most Gopher fans do too. And here we go to “Mad Town” where we seem to not do so well.

   

As a side note I am growing tired of watching native Minnesotans play football for other teams. This week we get to see John Stocco (Holy Angels) for the last time. He has looked good wearing the red and having Bucky Badger “high five” him all the time. If I remember correctly he was not recruited by Minnesota.

   

And how about that Wisconsin band? On probation including hazing allegations. Very nice. Maybe they should do a take off of Girls Gone Wild. Maybe, Badgers In The Wild.

   

Minnesota and Wisconsin play for Paul Bunyan’s Axe. This is the 116th meeting between the schools and the longest continuous rivalry in NCAA I-A football. I think Lehigh and Lafayette have played 1 or 2 years longer in I-AA.

   

While fishing on Lake Minnetonka my buddy Brian took my by this house:

    

    

Prediction

I hate to say this but I think Wisconsin will win easily but hopefully not in a blow out.

    

Wisconsin Football Blogs:

Badger Sports

Bucky Blog

Cute Sports

    

Big Ten Predictions

Last week’s results 5-1, my Gophers let me down but the Hoosiers helped out.

    

Wisconsin over Minnesota

Michigan over Penn State

Ohio State over Michigan State

Northwestern over Purdue

Indiana over Iowa

Illinois over Ohio

   

Final

Minnesota Golden Gophers 12 and Wisconsin Badgers 48

   

Wow, that was a lot of fun to watch. This game became so bad that the game announcers had a split screen with the in studio guys and talking about other things while showing Gophers and Badgers playing. To make it worse for us Gophers fans, or more like taking us out of our misery, they switched to another game.

   

For as many points as Wisconsin put on us the stat sheet, 400 total yards, was not that glamorous.

   

I have very little to comment on except for the Mario Reese celebration. So we blocked a kick and returned it for 2 points. He dove in the end zone a la Reggie Bush. I like enthusiasm. I like having energy. Dude, we were getting our Gopher tail kicked up and down the field. The celebration was not necessary.

   

Statistics

Rushing

Amir Pinnix, 97 yards and 1 TD

   

Receiving

Matt Spaeth, 42 yards

Eric Decker, 26 yards

   

Passing

Bryan Cupito, 13-28 for 94 yards, 1 Interception and sacked 3 times

   

Defense

Steve Davis, 1 sack

Todd Meisel, 1 sack

   

   

27fishing_lake_minnetonkabucky_badger_ho   


Minnesota Golden Gophers and Penn State Nittany Lions Preview And Final

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Preview

Let me start by saying that I believe the Gophers can and will win this game. Why? If the Gophers can play this week (without the usual big game loss hangover that they seem to be plagued with) like they did against Michigan they will win.

   

Besides a fair performance by the Gophers I do not think that Penn State football is that good this year, at least not at this point in the season.

   

As a team they are not that big or athletic as in years past. Their QB seems a bit above average but nothing to get excited about. Their offensive line is thin in terms of available players and their secondary is not that good.

   

The Gophers should pass early to set up the run. Plain and simple. After all this is what we were promised at the beginning of the season.

   

Minnesota and Penn State play for the Governor’s Victory Bell, which started in 1993 when Penn State was admitted to the Big Ten. Minnesota is 4-5 against Penn State

   

Prediction

Minnesota by 10.

   

Penn State Football Blogs:

Penn State, like Michigan, has no shortage in the number of bloggers supporting their university and college teams. Here are the ones I like the best:

   

50-Yard line

Inside PA Sports

Black Shoe Diaries

The Nittany Notebook

There Is No Name On My Jersey

   

Big Ten Predictions

A disclaimer, I am way more a fan than a Las Vegas odds maker and I do little if any research. This is what I think, nothing more and nothing less. Well, maybe some bias.

   

Minnesota over Penn State

Ohio State over Bowling Green

Wisconsin over Northwestern

Michigan over Michigan State

Indiana over Illinois

Iowa over Purdue

   

Final

I am not sure how to express my frustration with this loss.

   

I am upset with the official for calling the pass interference call on Trumaine Banks. I wonder if the one who threw the flag has been one of the many that Coach Joe Paterno has chased down over the years. Remember, I have stated that I have a lot of respect for Jo Pa but this smells of payback for calls gone against them over the years. Two wrongs do not make a right.

   

There is no way you throw a flag from the backside. There is no way he had an angle on that play to make the call. And note that the official closest to the play did not flag the play.

   

Besides the pass interference call there are a few situations that stick out as major moments in this game and not one of them went our way. Yes, our players made some mistakes but our coaches contributed or to go so far as to say they helped create the situation.

   

The first is the Dominic Jones fumbled punt near the goal line. While I do not understand how something like that happens I never played football. I never had guys running down the field running as fast as they could wanting to take my head off as I was standing there all by myself waiting for the ball to come back to earth.

   

I do take issue with the coaches for putting him in that position to begin with. We had a 4th down and less than a yard around our own 45-yard line. The crowd was in the game. Momentum was up for grabs. And once again Coach Mason goes conservative. I am growing tired of his line that goes something like, “It’s more fun to coach and play to win than not to lose.”

   

Really? When was the last time we made an aggressive play to win decision?

   

So we punted, as did Penn State, which is how we got to the fumble.

   

How about the lame attempt at running out the clock at the end of the first half? Once again we go conservative. (I am still looking for the coaching to win attitude). Now I grant that Amir Pinnix running out of bounds and stopping the clock was a mistake but three running plays and the punt is not being aggressive.

   

While the three run plays were going on there were a few fans that started booing. After the punt a small chant started in the student section, “Fire Mason”. After the Penn State touchdown to make it Nittany Lions 14-7 and the end of the half the chant came back very loud accompanied by a chorus of boos.

   

In the second half Trumaine Banks was hurt and had to sit out a play. His replacement was a little used young guy. Now if there was ever a time to play that soft zone, it was then. Nope, we go man to man and gave up the big play.

   

Three coaching decisions made as much an impact as one blown call by the referee.

   

Then there was the missed extra point in OT by Jason Giannini. Speechless. I was then and I am now.

   

After all of that the game was in hand except for the call from one referee who was out of position.

   

How many more games will Gopher fans have to endure like this one?

   

Notes

-Matt Spaeth moves in front of Ben Utecht in all time tight end receptions and moves to 11th regardless of position.

   

Statistics

Rushing

-Amir Pinnix, 76 yards and 2 TD’s

   

Receiving

-Matt Spaeth, 99 yards and 1 TD

-Logan Payne, 94 yards

-Eric Decker, 66 yards and 1 TD

   

Passing

-Bryan Cupito, 25-36 for 347 yards, 2 TD’s, sacked 3 times

   

Defense

-John Shevlin, 1 Interception

-Will VanDeSteeg, 1 Sack

   

I am a big fan of Joe Paterno:

17minnesota_vs_penn_state_governors_bell

   

   

   

And there goes The Bell:

4minnesota_vs_penn_state_pregame_coach_p   


Gopher Football Updates Coming Soon

In the next day I will be adding a bunch of posts covering the Gopher football games of recent weeks and the comments made by Coach Glen Mason. I have been seeking therapy and I think it is safe more for me to finally get these out of my mind.

   

So for those who have little interest in the topic I apologize for jamming up your RSS readers but at least I am doing it on a weekend.


Michigan Wolverines 28 and Minnesota Golden Gophers 14

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This could very well be the longest post in the 16+ months of this blog. I have not been doing any analyzing of previous games because of a lack of time but I am ready to make up for it and I have a couple of tangents to go on too.

   

Last year I was heavy on statistics. This year there will be more commentary…

   

Thoughts on the game

There are some good things to take from the game. After sending Laurence Maroney, Greg Eslinger, and Mark Setterstrom to the NFL the running game is still pretty good. Michigan had only given up something like 78 yards in four games. That’s not per game, total. .8 yards per carry give or take a tenth.

   

Brian Cupito had a decent game throwing the ball, 17-34 for 215 yards, 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. I would take that output every week.

   

The defensive secondary looked a little like swiss cheese against the pass. Part of that was because Michigan was running the ball well so we put the safety up in the box forcing our guys to play man against their receivers.

   

I would much rather play man defense and get burned than play that soft zone we usually do. What’s the difference if you give a big play or a bunch of small one’s. The result is still a touchdown.

   

Had we not taken a penalty that brought back a touchdown and had we scored late in the game things could have been pretty crazy at the Metrodome. Not a big stretch of the imagination when you consider the previous three games.

   

I am not convinced that Michigan is as good as the rankings have us believing. Are they good? Absolutely. Are they great? I don’t think so. The score does not tell the story. The statistics do. Michigan could have scored 40+ points. That is not why I am knocking them.

   

Let’s face it, this Gopher team is not as good as the previous ones. For me that means Michigan should have kicked our Gopher tail up and down the field more so than they did.

   

Before every game starts I think we can win it and this was one of those that could have been.

   

Anyway, I thought Michigan would have done more.

   

To the woman sitting behind me a few rows

Michigan came to the Dome highly ranked and when you have them on a 3rd down early in the game (or at any point) do not tell someone wearing the same colors as you, “Down in front.”

   

Are you kidding me? This is a football game. A rivalry game. Well, sort of anyway. Down in front? Get off your butt and cheer with me.

   

This weekend if I hear it again my response will not be kind.

   

Students leaving early

I was listening to the Sports Huddle with Sid Hartman and Dave Mona on WCCO this past Sunday morning and quite a few times comments were made about the students leaving during the 4th quarter. Hints were made that they were heading to the bars.

   

Sorry guys, but you are out of touch. 50,000+ fans and 10,000+ of them are students heading back top campus. That does not include the fans who park near campus too. Any idea how long it takes to get back there by way of bus? Depending on where a student lives and how long the lines are it can be a minimum of 45 minutes and as much as 90.

   

One more thought. Less than 24% of the students are over the age of 21. I have heard that freshmen and sophomores are 60%+ the number of students in attendance. So no, they were not heading to the bars. A party maybe but most of them were just heading back home.

   

And why not criticize the “old folks” who left early? I was there until the end and the same percentage of old folks left as did the students.

   

Am I happy that the fans leave early? No. But even the Twins game yesterday had people leaving at the top of the 9th. That is absurd.

   

Football Blogosphere

A few weeks ago I ran across some great college football blogs and I thought it would be cool to add links to them here. Michigan has quite a few and I have linked to them below. They give an interesting view on what they think of their own team and of our Gophers.

   

For the most part things about Minnesota are positive except for their dislike of playing in the Dome. It will not shock you to know I agree with them:

   

Ronald Bellamy's Underachieving All-Stars

iBlog For Cookies

M Zone

Maize n Brew

mgoblog

Straight Bangin'

The Blog That Yost Built

Schembechler Hall

Stadium and Main

   

From The Blog That Yost Built:

So now, after a year of being paraded around in Minnesota like it was the Stanley Cup, the Little Brown Jug can return to its familiar home: A trunk in the laundry room at Schembechler Hall. Maybe when today's newborns are the Gophers' freshmen, we'll let them see it again. Hopefully by then they will have learned that when you've been owned by a team for the better part of two decades, one win doesn't give you the right to plant a flag.
   
Unless it's your first road conference win in about 4 years and it's the other school's Homecoming game.

Hey, I was one of those who had my picture taken with the jug and I appreciate you letting us borrow it for a while.

   

Speaking of which, we get robbed in the number of days we held on to it. We won it on October 8th, 2005. We lost it on September 30th, 2006. Not exactly a year. 2007 the game is played on October 27th so they have it an extra month. Or it could be years too. I know this is a weak item to bring up but when you see it once every decade and a half every day, week, month counts.

   

Here’s a pick of the Little Brown Jug (somewhere in there) heading off to Ann Arbor and a very happy Wolverine fan:

13minnesota_vs_michiganwolverines_with_l16minnesota_vs_michigan_happy_blue_fan_a   

   

   

   

   

Some pictures related to the game is this one from Deke. We had five Michigan Dekes make the drive for the game:

3minnesota_vs_michiganmichigan_dekes_too   

   

   

   

   

Here are the previously mentioned student sections:

4minnesota_vs_michiganpregame5minnesota_vs_michiganpregame_1   

   

   

   

   

The Twins and White Sox played earlier in the day at the Dome, another reason to bring the Gophers back to campus, so many of the baseball players were in attendance. Torii Hunter and Joe Mauer were shown on the big screen a couple of times.

   

This is a picture of A.J. Pierzynski shortly after being heckled by fans and him giving some comments back:

8minnesota_vs_michiganaj_pierzynski   

   

   

   

   

I brought my cousin Leah with me to the game. She had taken me to the Vikings and Carolina Panthers game so I thought a payback would be nice. I forgot how loud she can yell. At one point in the game, after having been quite for a little while, the guy in front turned around to see what was wrong.

   

Leah had the hiccups. Soon after they were cured and she was back at it. Leah and I and Leah with my season ticket friends that sit next to me, Rosemary and David:10minnesota_vs_michiganpaul_and_leah

   

   

   

   

No pictures from the game itself as I was too focused on watching it.

11minnesota_vs_michigan_rosemary_and_lea   


Ground Breaking For New Gopher Football Stadium

What a beautiful day it was for the football passing (it was a handoff actually) from the Metrodome, started by former Gopher Coach Murray Warmath, to the new location on the corner of 4th and Oak Streets where two young kids received the ball.

   

Very cool way to do it.

   

I think the last number I heard was around 280 ball carriers in all with a few thousand more along the route and at the new site of the TCF Bank Stadium.

   

The day started off by getting my official t-shirt and “Ball Carrier” pass. I was representing the Minnesota Greek Alumni Partnership (MGAP), an umbrella group for the fraternity and sorority house corporations and alumni groups.

   

My friend Jason and his son Conner were also ball carriers and he volunteered as part of the Goal Line Club.

   

We headed over to the mall area where our area was. The mall is in the middle of campus and I took these two pictures of Northrop Auditorium on the north end of the mall and Coffman Union on the south end:

4tcf_stadium_ground_breaking_northrop_au5tcf_stadium_ground_breakingcoffman_unio   

   

   

   

   

Jason and Conner were two spots before me and I was able to get this picture of them with the ball:

10_tcf_stadium_ground_breaking_jason_and   

   

   

   

   

Here I am with the official ball and my MGAP friends:

13tcf_stadium_ground_breakingmgap_with_t   

   

   

   

   

After passing the ball on we were able to get a picture of a group of students and Greek alumni:

17tcf_stadium_ground_breaking_ifc_phc_mg   

   

   

   

   

On to the new stadium location with the University of Minnesota Marching Band:

24tcf_stadium_ground_breaking_siteband   

   

   

   

   

Coach Glen Mason with a booster:

26tcf_stadium_ground_breaking_site_coach   

   

   

   

   

The program featured many speakers including President Bruininks:

28tcf_stadium_ground_breaking_sitepresid   

   

   

   

   

The first “shovel” and Goldy supervising:

29tcf_stadium_ground_breaking_sitefirst_31tcf_stadium_ground_breaking_sitegoldy   

   

   

   

   

Need to get one of these signs:

30tcf_stadium_ground_breaking_sitegopher   

   

   

   

   

After the ceremony Jason, Conner and I took a walk over to the McNamara Alumni Center, part of which is built on the site that was once Memorial Stadium. Inside there is one of the arches from Memorial Stadium, known as the Brickhouse:

32mcnamara_alumni_centermemorial_stadium33mcnamara_alumni_centermemorial_stadium34mcnamara_alumni_centermemorial_stadium   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

Also there is a history of the university, alumni, and information on the new stadium. I have seen the artist rendition of the proposed stadium many times but only during this look at it did I notice the scoreboard:

36mcnamara_alumni_centertcf_bank_stadium   

   

   

   

   

I was hoping this was a good sign of the game later that day.

   

Three years seems like a long time to wait but I guess I have been waiting since 1982 so this is the home stretch.


TCF Bank Stadium Ground Breaking

Beginning at 12:30 pm a handoff of a football will start at the Metrodome (the current home of Gopher football) and head down Washington Ave towards campus. The ball will take a left on Oak Street and end up at 4th Street and the Gopher Lot.

   

This area will be the future home of TCF Bank Stadium, the new home of Gopher football.

   

From 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm a program consisting of speakers from the university, performances by the band, dance and cheer teams, and an appearance by Goldy Gopher will be part of the ceremonies. Personally, I just want to see the shovels hit the ground. That will be the highlight of the event.

   

As part of the football relay I get to participate representing the Minnesota Greek Alumni Partnership (MGAP).. I am in the area in front of Kolthoff Hall, which is adjacent to the mall.

   

This is going to be a fun day…


University of Minnesota Goal Line Club Luncheon

Jason and I attended the event this afternoon and had a good time as usual. We heard from Offensive Coordinator Mitch Browning, and players Matt Spaeth and Joe Ainslie.

   

Coach Browning gave some historical statistics around 1,000 yard rushers, multiple 1,000 yard rushers, and how no one in the country has done what the Minnesota Golden Gophers have done in the past three consecutive years with two 1,000 yard rushers.

   

Hopefully our success on the ground continues this week with the #6 ranked Michigan Wolverines. In their first four games they have yielded 70 some yards in total by the run. That averages to something like .8 yards per carry.

   

I am optimistic every year that the Gophers are going to the Rose Bowl and that each week we will win that game.

   

But I am not delusional. The other goal of the day besides attending the event was getting pictures with the Little Brown Jug. You know, just in case it is another 10+ years until we see it in person again.

   

Yes, we only show the maroon side of the jug. The other side is painted blue with their M in maize (is that really a color?) but who wearing the maroon wants to see the blue?

   

Many thanks to Doug and Teresa of the Goal Line Club for dealing with my email(s) this week inquiring about the appearance of the Little Brown Jug today. The next lunch event is Friday, November 3rd, the day before the homecoming game against Indiana.

Little_brown_jug_92p06Jason_and_paul_with_the_little_brown_jugPaul_with_the_little_brown_jug_2Little_brown_jug_3


San Francisco Trip Day 3, More Sight Seeing

We woke up and the sun was out:

3_the_sun_made_a_4_hour_apearance_on_sun

   

   

   

   

   

I know that sounds a bit odd but we had not seen it since we landed there so this was a big deal.

   

Jason and I needed to be at the airport by 9:30 pm so we had a full day to do as we wished. We went to a local place for breakfast and then caught parts of a few NFL games. The time change (2 hours behind Minneapolis) had me a little off. When I went to turn on ESPN at 9 am to check out the pre-game news, games had just started and I had not thought about it.

   

We left Dan’s in the afternoon and took the Bay Bridge back in to San Francisco. Off in the distance we could see the fog line and it was right over the Golden Gate Bridge. The bad news was it was coming back in. In these pictures the white clouds are the fog and you can see that above the layer is a blue sky:

6_fog_above_golden_gate_bridge_view_from_1 7_fog_above_golden_gate_bridge_view_from_1

   

   

And this my first clear picture of San Francisco:

8_san_francisco_from_the_bay_bridge

   

   

   

   

   

We took an exit and thought about getting tickets to the baseball game. The San Francisco Giants were playing the San Diego Padres but we decided against it. We did drive by AT&T Park and saw the statue of Willie Mays:

11_att_park_home_of_the_san_francisco_gi

12_att_park_home_of_the_san_francisco_gi

13_att_park_willie_mays_statue

14_willie_mays_place

   

   

   

   

   

We than stayed in the area and I took a few photos of the Bay Bridge:

18_an_francisco_view_of_bay_bridge_and_o   

   

   

When we saw the sea lions on Friday Jason had called and left a message at home for the kids to hear the sounds. Unfortunately it got erased so we decided to head back over and take some more pictures. Maybe because it was later in the day or not after they had been feeding but they were much more active. So I have this one picture and also have two QuickTime movies that I have posted on You Tube. It was fun to watch them defend their space:

San Francisco Pier 39 Sea Lions, Part 1

San Francisco Pier 39 Sea Lions, Part 2

21_pier_39_sea_lions   

   

   

   

   

One last picture of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. What’s that you say? Can’t see the bridge? Yeah, I know. Can you tell I was annoyed?

23_pier_39_under_that_fog_is_the_golden_   

   

   

   

   

With the fog coming in fast we decided to head over to Coit Tower while we could still see some of the area. The drive there was spectacular:

24_coit_tower   

   

   

   

   

And we had a good chuckle with seeing these signs:

25_nice_warning   

   

   

   

   

The view from the tower was awesome:

26_view_from_coit_tower

27_view_from_coit_tower   

   

   

   

   

We stayed up there for about 30 some minutes and literally watched the fog roll in. Here are a few pictures and you can see how fast this happened:

28_view_from_coit_tower_fog_rolling_in29_view_from_coit_tower_fog_rolling_in33_view_from_coit_tower_fog_rolling_in35_view_from_coit_tower_fog_rolling_in39_view_from_coit_tower_fog_rolling_in40_view_from_coit_tower_fog_rolling_in   

   

   

   

   

Same with these “movies” I put on You Tube:

Coit Tower Fog Part 1

Coit Tower Fog Part 2

Coit Tower Fog Part 3

Coit Tower Fog Part 4

   

Then there is this set of three pictures of an eagle that was at first sailing and soaring with the wind, never flapping its winds. It did get to the point where it was having a hard time staying in the air and it flew off. In the next couple of days I will post a link “here” to a story that will explain why I found this to be prophetic:

41_view_from_coit_tower_fog_rolling_in_e42_view_from_coit_tower_fog_rolling_in_e

43_view_from_coit_tower_fog_rolling_in_e   

   

   

   

   

After the tower we went to McCormick and Kuleto’s for dinner. The food and service was great, just as I have experienced here in Minneapolis at McCormick and Schmick’s on the Nicollet Mall.

   

I know I had a lot to say about the fog in these three posts. The first day it was kind of “cool” to see and experience but after three days of fog, damp and cool temperatures I was getting a little (a lot) irritable. I found myself looking forward to getting back to a cooler but much sunnier Minneapolis

   

Would I make the same trip again knowing what I know now? Absolutely.

   

I look forward to getting out there again soon.


San Francisco Trip Day 2, Minnesota vs Cal

After sleeping in a little bit Jason, Dan and I headed out for brunch. I took this picture from Peidmont, as we were hopeful the fog was going to break and it did look a little brighter:

1_saturday_morning_view_from_peidmont   

   

   

   

   

   

Besides, Dan told me not to worry. The weather is always better in Berkeley.

   

We then headed over to the Cal campus. Jason, Dan and I were pledge brothers of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity at the University of Minnesota. When Jason and I make these trips we try to pick a game where the school has a Deke chapter.

   

We found the Cal Deke’s. They have a great location on the opposite corner to the stadium so we pulled in and asked if we could park there. After explaining who we were their response was, “Absolutely, and the beer is inside.” Ahh, just like home.

   

There were not many guys around as it was still early so we took a quick tour of the chapter house:

4_cal_deke_house5_cal_deke_house8_cal_deke_house   

   

   

   

   

   

Outside they had their drinking table ready for the pre-game festivities:

2_cal_deke_house_drinking_table_jason_an_13_cal_deke_house_drinking_table_jason_an   

   

   

   

   

   

We then headed to a reception held by the University of Minnesota Alumni Association and Goal Line Club. I was not yet ready for the game but seeing the maroon and gold fans got me going:

9_minnesota_pregame10_minnesota_pregame   

   

   

   

   

   

Goldy helped:

13_minnesota_pregame_paul_and_goldy   

   

   

   

   

   

The best motivator was this one. It is a picture of student’s window across from the reception:

11_minnesota_pregame_gotta_love_it   

   

   

   

   

   

After eating, meeting some friends, having a beer or two (I swear that’s all I had), and hearing from among others President Bruininks:

15_minnesota_pregame_president_bruininks   

   

   

   

   

   

We headed back to the Deke house to meet the guys. Their “preparations” for the game were in full swing:

21_cal_deke_house22_cal_deke_house   

   

   

   

   

   

There was the friendly shake, offering of the beer (I said no, really I did), Deke talk, and then once the formalities were over with the friendly trash talk between the Golden Bears and Golden Gophers began. Cal was just coming off their loss to Tennessee the week before and the fall from the Top 10.

   

We took amore extensive tour of the chapter house and found that they have an amazing view and a really cool mural:

19_cal_deke_house_roof_view18_cal_deke_house_roof   

   

   

   

   

   

After meeting some of their alumni we decided to head to the stadium. Not a far walk by any means but, umm, it was steep:

24_cal_stadium_look_at_all_of_them_steps   

   

   

   

   

   

I took some pre-game pictures:

25_cal_stadium_first_look_in26_cal_stadium_band_during_pregame27_cal_stadium_right_before_game_time28_minnesota_vs_cal_pregame29_minnesota_vs_cal_here_come_the_golden31_minnesota_vs_cal_here_come_the_golden   

   

   

   

   

   

Cal started with the ball and was held to a three and out. Minnesota started on their own 29 yard line and marched down the field, scoring in our end of the field:

34_minnesota_vs_cal_alex_daniles_first_s   

   

   

   

   

   

But no, wait. They ruled Alex Daniels knee was down at the one-foot mark. I included that picture because on the TBS telecast they had a three second clip of the Minnesota fans cheering. It shows about 10 rows of happy maroon and gold clad people including in the second row of the picture Jason yelling and clapping and me taking that picture.

   

Minnesota does score on the next play so all went well:

36_minnesota_vs_cal_alex_daniels_second_37_minnesota_vs_cal_showing_the_pride   

   

   

   

   

   

Because Minnesota dominated Cal on that drive many of the Gopher fans started chanting, “You can’t stop us. You can’t stop us.” That seemed a little premature although it was nice to hear the optimism. The Cal student sections certainly looked a little concerned:

35_minnesota_vs_cal_students_are_a_littl   

   

   

   

   

   

Cal went on to tie the game and then take a 14-7 lead. On the kickoff following the second Cal touchdown Dominic Jones returned it for a 99-yard touchdown. It happened quickly and with the camera in my pocket I missed it. Here’s a pic from the replay in the stadium:

38_minnesota_vs_cal_dominc_jones_return_   

   

   

   

   

   

After a few punts by each team Cal took a 21-14 lead and then a 28-14 lead. A late second quarter drive by the Gophers stalled and Jason Giannini kicks this field goal (off the upright but through) to make it 28-17 at the half:

40_minnesota_vs_cal_giannini_fg_good_off   

   

   

   

   

   

And that’s as good as it would get. The scoreboard continued to move for Cal:

42_minnesota_vs_cal_start_of_4th_quarter   

   

   

   

    

   

The fog started coming back fast and thick (compare these two picks with the one before the game started):

43_minnesota_vs_cal_4th_quarter_here_com44_minnesota_vs_cal_more_4th_quarter_fog   

   

   

   

   

   

Final score Cal 42 and Minnesota 17.

   

We went back to Deke to catch the end of the Ohio State vs. Texas game and other scores from the day.

   

We had a good day except for the game and the weather. Jason had to remind that we were in the Bay Area, at Berkeley watching a game outdoors and that was good enough for him. Apparently his glass was half full and mine was half empty.