Gopher Football with Another Disappointing Loss


Charlie Rapheal, Editor

Gopher Football was at Illinois on Saturday, October 15th for their sixth game this season. They were coming off a loss to Purdue as well as a bye week, so there was momentum to be made up.  However, the result was a 14 – 26 loss for the Gophers, and another disappointing game. This loss brings their record to 4-2 overall, and 1-2 in the conference. After last weekend, they sit in the sixth spot of seven in B10 West. Illinois fixed their record up to 6-1, and sit at the top of B10 West with a conference record of 3-1. 

What started as an undefeated, 3-0 Gopher football team, has quickly taken a turn in a different direction. With a fired Wisconsin coach and a terrible Iowa offense, there previously had been an opportunity for the Gophers to win the West. Despite this, that opportunity looks as if it is long gone due to back to back losses to Purdue and Illinois. 

Mohammed Ibrahim remains to be the only truly outstanding player, expanding his streak of games in which he’s stacked 100+ rushing yards up to 14. He rushed for 127 yards Saturday, making up the heavy majority of the team’s total yards, and also managed to add a touchdown to his stat line. 

The only other largely notable takeaway was the kick return at the start of the second half, for which Quentin Redding returned the kick for 92-yards, setting the Gophers up for a quick touchdown. 

Quarterback Tanner Morgan received a hit to the head during the game, and was taken out of play. Backup QB Athan Kaliakmanis took his position, and didn’t show for much. When asked about Morgan’s injury update, Head Coach PJ Fleck said “First of all, Tanner is doing very well. He woke up on Sunday morning and surprisingly felt really good, which is great. He was evaluated at the medical center right after the game, which I know all of you saw, but he was cleared by the medical teams and the medical staff of where he was at to be able to fly home with the team. We held the plane a little bit longer, so he can finish up testing and flew home with the team as well.”

He later added “And in terms of the quarterback situation, we have other quarterbacks that can play if he’s not able to go, but that’s not necessarily just ruled out yet. But I’m not the one in charge of all those decisions. That’s our medical team. And I know he’s very, very good care. And he’s doing really well.”

A major struggle for the Gophers was rooted in the wide receiver position. With only six pass completions for a total of 38 yards, receiving is clearly an area that needs addressing. The Gophers also threw three interceptions, however that holds less value as two of them were as the game was winding down, in desperation to make something happen. 

Tanner Morgan and his receivers had a tough game, but being the veteran Quarterback he is and voice of the team, I believe we can bounce back and finish strong in the division

— Tony Rossini, Student

“We got to be able to create separation, and then we got to be able to make the plays that present itself. It’s simple. I mean, when we were able to catch the ball traffic and make plays, we’re really good. Watch the Michigan State game, and we’re able to do that same guys. We’re making plays in traffic, contested catches, and playing big. But when we don’t do that, that doesn’t allow our offense to be balanced. And then we become one dimensional really quick.

We played one of the best defenses in the country. In fact, I think the number one defense in the country, and they are that good. And so when you get behind the sticks on them, it discourages you to be able to keep going with the pass game because we only had 19 plays in the first half. And you got an All American tailback back there, so you better be able to catch the ball when it’s thrown to be able to move efficiently down the field.” – PJ Fleck, Press Conference

The Gophers face off with Penn State(16) this Saturday. The game is at 6:30, and gives the Gophers the opportunity to bounce back from three uneventful weeks with two disappointing losses in the prime time and at Penn State’s white out game.