The signs of progress at Minnesota are plentiful. The 22nd-ranked Gophers have cracked the Associated Press poll for the first time in more than six years. They’ve posted consecutive eight-win seasons for the first time since 2002 and 2003. They’ve got a chance to go to the Big Ten championship game.
With Thanksgiving upon us, we should all take some time to think about what we are thankful for. There is plenty of drama to pay attention to this weekend, and that is something every college football fan can be thankful for.
Briean Boddy-Calhoun ripped the ball out of Nebraska receiver De’Mornay Pierson-El’s hands at the Minnesota 2-yard line after Mitch Leidner scored the go-ahead touchdown, and the Gophers overcame a 14-point halftime deficit to defeat No. 21 Nebraska 28-24 on Saturday.
Jonny Brodzinski scored twice in the third period to lead St. Cloud State to a 3-1 National Collegiate Hockey Conference win over North Dakota on Friday. Brodzinski broke a 1-1 tie at 1:38 of the third period and added an insurance goal on the power play at 9:43, as the Huskies (5-5-1, 2-2-1 NCHC) handed UND its first road loss of the season. The Huskies outshot UND 34-27.
Carlos Morris scored 16 points and freshman Nate Mason added 15 Thursday night as Minnesota defeated Franklin Pierce 109-57 in NIT Season Tip-Off action. Minnesota shot 58.3 percent from the field, 11 of 15 3-pointers (73.3 percent) in the romp. Senior guard Andre Hollinshad 14 points and eight rebounds, while forward Joey King added 11 points.
Macalester College’s football program has had a breakthrough season and a very special fall. The Scots are winning games, but the season has turned into a different kind of education – one on life. They drafted 4-year-old Caleb Maaske to join the Scots. It’s part of a program called Team Impact, where kids that have a disability align with a team.
If you are looking for this year’s young rising star with a shot to win the Heisman Trophy, look no further than Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett. The freshman starting quarterback has stepped into a tough spot and has grown and matured along the way with terrific results.
DeAndre Mathieu had 11 points, six assists and five rebounds, helping Minnesota control the pace from start to finish in a 76-54 victory Tuesday over Western Kentucky. Mo Walker led the Gophers (1-1) with 14 points, Joey King scored 10 and Elliott Eliason added seven, as the frontcourt had short shot after short shot set up by Mathieu’s deft driving to the basket.
The Gophers women’s basketball team has an unusual start time for the next home game: noon. Minnesota will host Cleveland State at Williams Arena on Wednesday in the atypical midweek matinee. The game has been dubbed Gophers Kids Field Trip Day, with local elementary schools bringing students to watch the game over lunch.
The Gopher football team is finding out about itself with a back-loaded schedule that takes them to Nebraska this week. They’re still hopeful of a spot in the Big Ten championship game, but more concerned about the task at hand. It is the most difficult stretch of the season, and Coach Jerry Kill is hoping his team doesn’t play so hard that it can’t keep playing.
College football’s regular season is coming down the final stretch, which means it is crunch time in the conference and division championship races. Not every team is playing for a spot in the College Football Playoff, but everybody seems to have some impact on the new postseason format.
The Gophers women’s basketball team will start the season at home against Southeastern Louisiana. This won’t be just another opener. Friday night will be the first game for new head coach Marlene Stollings, who was hired in April to replace Pam Borton. She spent the last two years at VCU. Stollings will rely heavily on guard Rachel Banham, the Preseason Player of the Year pick in the Big Ten.
This week, Melvin Gordon leads the Wisconsin running game against another Heisman candidate and his ground game, Nebraska and Ameer Abdullah. The running back showcase should double as this week’s Heisman Trophy Spotlight Game.
Asked what he might try to confuse a Minnesota team coached by the son who knows him well, Rick Pitino worked hard to keep a straight face. “We’ve never played a triangle-and-two (defense), he will not be ready for it,” the Hall of Fame coach at Louisville said as Richard Pitino smiled while sitting beside him. “Their backcourt is something that must be stopped and it’s something that I’m going to try for the first time in my coaching career.”
Minneapolis made its final pitch Tuesday to host an upcoming NCAA Final Four. The steering committee for Minneapolis’ bid made a one-hour presentation to the NCAA men’s basketball committee in Indianapolis. Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen told the Star Tribune the group’s presentation “went off flawlessly.”
Minnesota was a 4.5-point underdog going into the game with Missouri, their first New Year’s Day bowl game in more than half a century.