Oct 26, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers fans run on the field after beating the Nebraska Cornhuskers at TCF Bank Stadium. The Gophers won 34-23. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
The Gophers got their first signature win under the Jerry Kill administration and are now bowl eligible after the win, something that has not happened in these parts for a while. The Gophers not only upset the Nebraska Cornhuskers, but they dominated them after spotting the Huskers a 10-0 lead.
Minnesota is starting to get excited about Gopher football again. Now the Gophers have an opportunity to make this a special season with winnable games against Indiana and Penn State before taking on arch-rival Wisconsin and closing out the season with a key Legends Division game against Michigan State.
WHAT I LIKED:
1. Ra’Shede Hageman: One could argue that Hageman may have single handedly turned the momentum in the football game and scared the life out of Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez. Hageman recorded back-to-back sacks in the second quarter, however the first one was negated by a face mask penalty. On the next play, Hageman redeemed himself by sacking Martinez again.
2. David Cobb: Cobb looked like Marion Barber III against the Huskers, using a combination of power and decisive running. He logged 31 carries for 144 yards. Cobb looked like a true workhorse back and with Berkley Edwards redshirting, Donnell Kirkwood ineffective, and Rodrick Williams injured, it’s critical that Cobb keeps it up.
3. The crowd: There were a ton of Huskers fans in attendance, but the Gopher fans were plenty loud. The celebration by the fans on the field was something special and well deserved by faithful Gopher fans.
4. Matt Limegrover’s play calling: Limegrover was on fire with his play calling on Saturday. Even some of the plays that didn’t work were brilliant but failed due to a lack of execution, such drops by the receivers on third down. One underrated element of his play calling was getting true freshman athlete Donovahn Jones involved with four carries for 44 yards on the speed sweep. Getting junior tight end Drew Goodger open, while the defense’s attention was focused on Maxx Williams, was sneaky as well.
5. Theiren Cockran: Cockran is the most underrated player on the roster. He brings speed off the edge and compliments Hageman along the defensive line beautifully. Cockran registered 1.5 sacks against Nebraska and now has 5.5 sacks on the season.
6. The defensive game plan: The Gophers held an explosive Nebraska offense to just 328 yards. Minnesota brought a ton of pressure recording four sacks while seemingly putting Martinez under constant pressure for most of the game. This was the first Big Ten game I’ve watched where the Gophers looked like they had an advantage against the opposing teams’ offensive line in a long time.
7. The play along both lines of scrimmage: It’s hard to believe that this is the same Minnesota team that had their butts whooped along both lines of scrimmage just a few weeks ago against Iowa. For them to look as dominant as they did against the Huskers forces you to scratch your head a little bit and ask yourself what the heck happened against the Hawkeyes?
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
1. The opening touchdown drive for Nebraska: Minnesota’s defense was spotty to start the game. The Huskers drove 69 yards in six plays, taking less than three minutes.
2. Receivers dropping critical third down conversions: Maxx Williams in particular dropped a few key passes. The Gophers could have made the score even more lopsided if they didn’t have a case of the drops.
3. The 11 a.m. start time: I have to nitpick, sorry. I live in Rochester and it’s very inconvenient having to get up at the crack of dawn to make it to the game in time. It also hurts student attendance. Speaking of which, the student section turnout was disappointing. The upper deck of the student section was filled with mostly red.