The easy way for the Minnesota Golden Gophers to dismiss a second consecutive, ugly Big Ten loss, is to bring up the fact that Minnesota was once again without their head coach Jerry Kill. He suffered another epileptic episode early this morning, and was unable to even make the trip to be with his team.
While Kill wasn’t the one out there missing tackles, blowing coverage and dropping balls, he was the one that put this team and its game plan together. The Michigan Wolverines outclassed the Golden Gophers today, as they had superior athletes and execution.
Minnesota managed only 281 yards of offense and 13 points on offense. The lone touchdown was scored just over four minutes into the game, when quarterback Mitch Leidner connected with tight end Max Williams on a jump ball in the end zone to cap off a 75 yard drive. For the other 55 minutes of the game, the Golden Gophers managed just two field goals, 206 yards of offense, and two turnovers.
The defense didn’t fare any better. Minnesota was unable to get a single turnover from Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner, who, prior to today, had been giving the football away like cult members in airports giving away literature. Gardner had one of his best games of the year on this Golden Gopher defense, completing 76 percent of his passes. The most ugly statistic is that Michigan was 10-of-13 on third down conversions.
For the second consecutive week, the Golden Gophers have looked inferior on the field. This Minnesota team is clearly the worst in the Big Ten Legends division, and you could make a case that they are the worst in the entire conference. The program is getting to a place very similar to where it was when Minnesota fired former coach Tim Brewster mid-season.
The University’s athletic department may be reluctant to make a similar move with Kill because of his condition. The results on the field can’t be ignored if they continue to be like this, however. The Golden Gophers aren’t just not winning, they’re not even in the same class as other Big Ten teams.
Maybe what’s to blame for losses like this isn’t Kill’s absence, but his presence.
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