It's finally here, Michigan vs. Minnesota. It is the Gophers' chance to prove they belong with the…
Time to get over it
Job No. 1 will be to rebuild the psyche of a team that has to overcome the shock and disappointment of losing a game in which it took a 21-point lead into the fourth quarter at home against a team it desperately wanted to beat.
Michigan came back to win 38-35.
According to head coach Glen Mason, the Gophers will not have a problem with its frame of mind.
"We'll be fine," Mason told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "We lost the game, but we played good. Who beat us? We beat ourselves. We were playing the team that people were picking to win the national championship. We've got a lot of young kids out there. Sometimes you forget that. I'm not going to forget that."
He's saying the right things, but it will take a full 60 minutes of solid play for the memory of the collapse to go away.
SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: The Gophers ran the ball exceptionally well against Michigan. They pounded out 424 yards and Marion Barber looked sensational with 197 yards and a touchdown. Laurence Maroney added 81 yards and scored twice. Asad Abdul-Khaliq was very good against Michigan, but he made a terrible mistake when he threw a fourth-quarter interception that was returned for a 34-yard TD by Jacob Stewart.
SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: The Minnesota defense was very physical against Michigan for three quarters and nearly shut down RB Chris Perry. However, when the game was on the line in the fourth quarter, the Gophers fell apart. The knock on Minnesota in recent years is that it has been big enough or physical enough to stand up to the better teams in the Big Ten ... so this continues to be an issue.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's always a letdown whenever you lose a close game. But everyone understands that we're still 6-1. We're not too pessimistic about it. We're going to continue our quest for a Big Ten title." — S Eli Ward on the Gophers' need to bounce back following their loss to Michigan.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
THIS WEEK'S GAME: Michigan State at Minnesota, Oct. 18 — Can the Gophers bounce back after a nightmarish fourth quarter against Michigan? If they can, they have a chance to get back on the winning track. If not, they have a chance to get blown out by the Spartans.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: QB Asad Abdul-Khaliq — After he threw an interception that was returned for a score by Michigan, Abdul-Khaliq showed that he was not about to fold by scoring on a 52-yard TD run. However, he could not lead the Gophers down the field in the last minute when they needed to put a field goal on the board to send the game into overtime.
WR Jared Ellerson — After two long TD receptions vs. Northwestern, Ellerson was held to two catches for 23 yards vs. Michigan. He needs to rebound with a big game.
INJURY IMPACT: No new injuries were reported following the loss to Michigan.
GopherDigest.com Recommended Stories
Week 8: Super Sleepers
Every week, Fantasy Football Expert Jeb Gorham digs in his list of rankings to find the best sleepers for deeper formats. Consider giving these players a chance, but be aware of the risk! Tampa Bay…Read More
Watch: Sailfish Goes Psycho!
Check out this classic video of Dan Larson battling an acrobatic sailfish on a trip to the world-famous Tropic Star Lodge in Panama.Read More
BOMBS AWAY: ISIS BEFORE AND AFTER AIRSTRIKE
Photographer Bulent Kilic captured these amazing images of ISIS members who were on the very wrong end of an allied bombing in Turkey.Read More
TBT: Pumpkin Carving With A Handgun
While many hunters are focused on pursuing big game in late October, it’s also time to make sure you’re ready for Halloween, and specifically trick-or-treaters. In this throwback Thursday video,…Read More
Sullivan weighs seriousness of concussions
John Sullivan has suffered five concussions in his seven-year career, but he doesn’t believe his future is “in doubt.” He weighs the severity of the concussions against the number of them.Read More