Minnesota enters its National Funding Holiday Bowl appearance trying to gain ground against Washington State because of the distraction of a recent boycott by the Golden Gophers following the suspension of 10 their teammates.
Trying to subdue the Cougars’ “Air Raid” offense led by quarterback Luke Falk and productive receiver Gabe Marks requires their undivided attention for the Dec. 27 game at San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium (7 p.m. ET, ESPN).
The Gophers (8-4) ended their two-day boycott Dec. 17 after they were assured the players accused of involvement in an alleged sexual assault case will get a fair hearing. An upset win would cure some of the pain the program has endured. Minnesota hasn’t won nine games since the 10-win season in 2003.
“It would be a great reward for this team and some of our coaches for the things that they have went through this year, but this game of football doesn’t give you anything,” Minnesota coach Tracy Claeys said. “It’s a great team sport, and the team that shows up most prepared, and plays the hardest, and plays as great teammates is usually the team that wins. It doesn’t give you anything. We’re gonna have to earn it.”
Washington State coach Mike Leach has tried to prevent his players from paying attention to Minnesota’s off-the-field issues.
“I ignore 100 percent of that,” Leach said of the boycott. “There’s always drama this time of year. Historically, your best bet is to assume everybody is playing.”
Leach added, “If somebody decided to boycott here, I’d cut him.”
The Cougars (8-4) have the nation’s No. 2 passing offense at 370.8 yards per game behind Falk and Marks.
Falk ranks in the top five nationally in passing yards (fifth at 4,204), passing yards per game (fourth at 350.3) and passing touchdowns (fifth at 37). Marks is 12th nationally with 7.1 receptions a game. He has 867 receiving yards and has caught 13 touchdown passes.
The Gophers have struggled against the pass this season, with only one Big Ten team giving up more passing yards per game than their 228. They have only eight interceptions.
“They’re going to make you tackle in space or it’s going to be a long day,” said Claeys. “You need to get them in long-yardage situations or they’re very good with the short passing game.”
Expect Minnesota to be aggressive with its defensive front with blitzes to try to rattle Falk. The Gophers rank 21st nationally in sacks with 2.83 per game.
“We have to get hits on the quarterback if we can,” said Minnesota linebacker Jon Celestin. “That is something that we’ve been working on this year, getting a lot of pressure on the quarterback. I don’t think they’ve seen a defense that is as vicious as ours.”
Due to the suspensions, the Gophers are without some key defensive players, especially in the secondary, but linebackers Steven Richardson (seven sacks, 11 tackles for loss), Blake Cashman (6.5 sacks, 8.5 TFL) and Celestin (79 tackles) will play.
Minnesota’s offense is predicated on its running game. Running back Rodney Smith has rushed for 1,084 yards and 15 touchdowns. Quarterback Mitch Leidner has 2,040 passing yards but he has nearly twice as many interceptions (12) as touchdowns (seven).
Washington State counters with an aggressive defense led by linebacker Peyton Pelluer’s 89 tackles, defensive tackle Hercules Mata’afa’s four sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss, and free safety Shalom Luani’s four interceptions.
- Have your fruitcake and eat it, too! Wednesday, Dec. 27 is National Fruitcake Day
- UH running back Terence Williams is fully recovered, ready for camp
- Gophers volleyball starts season at Target Center, hopes it ends there, too
- BYU’s Tanner Mangum, now recovered from Achilles injury, says he’s ready to reclaim starting quarterback role
- Breaking down the Gophers' opponents: Wisconsin
- Gophers football schedule lacks dazzle, but games could bring plenty of late drama
- Naples, Immokalee, Barron Collier, Golden Gate, Palmetto Ridge win preseason classics
- Golden Globes 2017: A viewer's guide to who, what, when and where
- Departing U president Eric Kaler will leave a legacy of many accomplishments in Gophers athletics
- U.S. News & World Report ranks New York City's top 50 high schools for 2016
- IHSAA basketball: Central Indiana roundup, Dec. 2
- Golden Globes to kick off 2018 award season: What to know about the show
|Metra 99-5806 Dash Kit For Cougar 99-02/Focus 00-04 (check at Amazon)||4.2|
|Mb Star C3 diagnosis system 2015/01 with D630 Laptop Full Kit Ready for Use! (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Sonic - Ready for Action Pro Case for iPod Touch (5th Gen) (check at Amazon)||5.0|
|Trendy Elegant Thin Strap Analog Golden Dial Wristwatch for Women Lady Black (check at Amazon)||2.0|
|LinkS Ultra Slim 0.7mm Aluminum Metal Bumper with golden edges case for Apple iPhone 5 / 5s (Black) (check at Amazon)||1.0|
|Star Wars Empire Galaxy S6 Cargo Case - Darth Vader Ready for Action Cargo Case For Your Galaxy S6 (check at Amazon)||5.0|
|Metra Dash Kit For Cougar 99-02/Focus 00-04 (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Star Wars Empire iPhone 6 Pro Case - Darth Vader Ready for Action Pro Case For Your iPhone 6 (check at Amazon)||5.0|
|Hand Made Wooden Model Sailing Ship Medium Size Fully Assembly and Ready for Display, Already Built " Not a Kit " (check at Amazon)||4.2|
|Star Wars Empire iPhone 5/5s LeNu Case - Darth Vader Ready for Action Lenu Case For Your iPhone 5/5s (check at Amazon)||5.0|
|CJB Dust Plug / Earphone Jack Accessory White Cross Golden Crown Fur for iPhone 4 4s S4 5 All Device with 3.5mm Jack (US Seller) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|CJB Dust Plug / Earphone Jack Accessory Pink Cross Golden Crown Fur for iPhone 4 4s S4 5 All Device with 3.5mm Jack (US Seller) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Are YOU Ready for a Zombie Custom made Case/Cover/skin FOR Samsung Galaxy S5 - White - Plastic Snap Case ( Ship From CA) (check at Amazon)||5.0|
|VERIZON MOTOROLA W315 BLUE CLEAN ESN READY FOR ACTIVATION (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Case for iPhone 4/4s - Drama Masks - Personalized Engraving Included (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Minnesota Golden Gophers - Case for iPhone 5 / 5s / SE - Black (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Case for iPhone 6/6s - Drama Masks - Personalized Engraving Included (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Cal Berkeley Golden Bears - Case for iPhone 5 / 5s - Black (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|OOFIT phone case design with A bright sunflower in the golden wheat field for Apple iPhone 5 5s (check at Amazon)||5.0|
|2014 New Style NCAA Minnesota Golden Gophers Team logo Cellphone Case Cover for iPhone 5C (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|NCAA Minnesota Golden Gophers Champions Banner Cases Cover for Samsung Galaxy S3 I9300 (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|NCAA Minnesota Golden Gophers Varsity Jacket Hardshell Case for Apple iPhone 4, Black (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|After America: Get Ready for Armageddon (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|(After America: Get Ready for Armageddon) By Steyn, Mark (Author) Hardcover on 08-Aug-2011 (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|After America: Get Ready for Armageddon by Steyn, Mark published by Regnery Publishing (2012) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|By Mark Steyn - After America: Get Ready for Armageddon (7.12.2011) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Get ready for retirement - How to have a life after work (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Ready for Marriage: Finding Happily-Ever-After (Bestselling Author Collection) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Date or Wait: Are You Ready for Mr. Great? (Adventures in Delicious Dating After 40) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Ready for Love / After Lights (check at Amazon)||0.0|
Golden Gophers ready for Cougars after boycott drama (Dec 27, 2016) have 1192 words, post on www.foxsports.com at December 22, 2016. This is cached page on USA Posts. If you want remove this page, please contact us.