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.
Touting a strong finish to the previous season is a natural talking point for any college football team. At Minnesota, momentum has been trumpeted all summer. Even though the Gophers lost their bowl game to fall to 6-7 and won only once after Halloween, they showed signs of progress after back-to-back 3-9 finishes.
When the Big Ten grows to 14 teams, the conference’s longtime football powers will literally be out of Minnesota’s half of the league. But the Gophers didn’t get any breaks on the upcoming schedules. In 2014 and 2015, when Maryland and Rutgers are added to the East, teams will only play two out-of-division opponents. Well, Minnesota drew Michigan and Ohio State for those two foes. In 2016, the Big Ten goes to nine-game conference schedules.
Joe Martinson knows exactly who he is. The Minnetonka senior pitcher doesn’t step into the batter’s box, or take to the field – his focus revolves solely around the mound.
Century Community College left-handed ace Jared Dettman, who is pitching in the Junior College World series, should get drafted for a second time next week. Cedar Rapids Kernels’ manager Jake Mauer sees some similarities between first-round prospect Byron Buxton and his brother – the Twins’ Joe Mauer. The Timberwolves are concerned about Kevin Love’s conditioning since his injury ended his season.
Indiana is the top seed for the Big Ten baseball tournament, and coach Tracy Smith has an honest admission to make.
For the first time in 10 years the Gophers are going to the NCAA softball tournament. The squad finished second in the conference and is en route to Seattle to face Hawaii on Friday night in the Regionals.
Riley Dearring was well known at Minnetonka. But the big schools were not recruiting him hard — except for Wisconsin. And his skills are a family affair.
While getting to the Final Four is a big deal, winning it is even bigger. But how much do schools directly benefit from winning the championship game?