The past five-plus season of Gopher football has been brutal to watch at times. The program hasn’t had any success in Big 10 play, and just making a bowl game at 6-6 has been the ultimate goal each season. Saturday at Northwestern, when tuning into the game I wondered how long I’d have to watch until enough was enough. However, this game proved to be a different story. The Gophers battled for four quarters, were efficient on both sides of the ball and best of all beat a solid Big 10 opponent on their own turf.
Fans are still buzzing over the win even though Northwestern wasn’t ranked. The win though,has given people a reason to believe in their team and a lot of positives came from it as well.
Quarterback Philip Nelson didn’t start the game, but he did end it. He played superb, icing the game with a first-down rush that silenced a shocked crowd at Ryan Stadium. Overall, Nelson completed 8-11 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown along with 29 rushing yards.
Many including myself have been critical on Nelson’s play, but he showed that he does have potential and can live up to it. Football is all about going through growing pains and Nelson, in only his second year is raw, but leading his team to a victory on the road in the Big 10 like that will surly help his development.
Minnesota does have a bright future. Next year, we’ll get to see highly touted four-star running back Jeff Jones. Quarterbacks Mitch Leidner and Nelson could also become a dynamic duo, making it hard for opposing teams to create a solid game plan to cope with their mobility.
The defense looked good last week, but still has holes to fill, we’ll see if the Gophers target more defenders in the next recruiting campaign.
Something is brewing in Minnesota, maybe coach Jerry Kill’s staff does have what it takes to win in the Big 10 after all. A lot will be said when the Gophers (5-2) (1-2) head home to take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers (5-1) (2-0) this week. The line is -10.5 in favor of the Cornhuskers. I see this game being a lot closer, the Gophers will come out with energy and make it a close game.