There are smiles on the faces of Gopher football players – that’s what happens when you win. The U of M is on a three-game Big Ten win streak, something the program hasn’t done for years.
Given their bloodlines and new jobs, Minnesota’s Richard Pitino and Northwestern’s Chris Collins have quite a bit in common. Both are in their 30s. They’re the sons of well-known coaches, and they already seem to have a bond heading into their first season in the Big Ten.
The Gopher Coach talks with Dave and Sid…
Minnesota coach Jerry Kill is working his way back into the job after taking a leave of absence to better manage his epilepsy. He’s not ready to return to the sideline. But he said confidently that he’ll soon be seizure-free.
Nebraska’s home game against Minnesota this weekend will be televised on ESPN. The Big Ten Conference announced which channel would air the game on Sunday.
The Gopher football team takes on Northwestern on Saturday searching for Minnesota’s first Big Ten win. It will most likely be defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys’ first time as acting head coach in Jerry Kill’s absence, as the head coach is in the midst of an indefinite leave to manage his epilepsy.
All-session ticket packages go on sale Monday for the inaugural Big Ten Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament. The tournament will be held March 20-22, 2014, at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Jake Rudock threw for one touchdown and ran for another and Iowa beat Minnesota on both sides of the ball in a 23-7 victory on Saturday. Mark Weisman rushed for 147 yards on 24 carries, and Mike Meyer made three of his four field goal attempts to help the Hawkeyes (4-1, 1-0) start the Big Ten with a bang. After losing their opener to Northern Illinois, they’ve outscored their last two opponents 82-10. Senior linebackers Christian Kirksey, James Morris and Anthony Hitchens led a stifling effort on defense, including interceptions by Kirksey and Morris of Minnesota quarterback Philip Nelson. Nelson hadn’t played in two weeks because of an injury, but he started ahead of Mitch Leidner for the Gophers (4-1, 0-1).
When Philip Nelson’s right hamstring strain forced him out of the game, Minnesota turned to redshirt freshman Mitch Leidner at quarterback. Leidner started for the Gophers last week, too, rushed for 151 yards and four touchdowns and tops the depth chart going into the Big Ten opener Saturday against Iowa. Nelson, the sophomore who took over at midseason last year, has no guarantees of getting the job back.
University of Minnesota football coach Jerry Kill joined Dave Lee
Quarterback Mitch Leidner rushed for 151 yards and four touchdowns to lift Minnesota to a 43-24 victory over San Jose State on Saturday. Leidner was filling in for injured starter Philip Nelson, who was out with a bad hamstring. He also passed for 71 yards as the Golden Gophers improved to 4-0. Gophers coach Jerry Kill returned to the sideline a week after missing the second half because of an epileptic seizure and made it through the game without incident.
Big Ten football coaches say there aren’t very many places where they can unload frustrations about fans, reporters or anyone else without paying a price. On Tuesday’s weekly call with reporters, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said that about the only person a coach can vent to in confidence is his wife. And he joked that that isn’t a sure thing.
If all goes according to plan, the possibility of an FCS wins over one of the big boys of college football won’t exist much longer in the Big Ten. The College Football Playoff is coming next season, and strength of schedule is part of the criteria the selection committee will use to determine the four teams. Playing FCS opponents wouldn’t help the cause.
New coach Rich Pitino and his Gophers will open the Big Ten Conference season with none other than the national runner-up Michigan Wolverines. The University of Minnesota men’s basketball team’s 2014 conference schedule was released Wednesday, and it includes a home opener against Michigan on Jan. 2 before playing Purdue on Jan. 5 at Williams Arena.
Philip Nelson was a gifted quarterback from Mankato West, where he was turning heads in the Big Ten. He committed to Minnesota, and in his sophomore season he’s progressing like he did in high school. “It’s a lot like high school when it comes to each year you play, it slows down noticeably, and that’s where I’m at right now. It’s taken a step slower for me, and I think as an offense we all feel the same way,” Nelson said.