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Minnesota Newspapers Thread

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Minnesota Newspapers Thread

Let's post all Minnesota newspapers articles in this thread. That will make it a little more convenient for all to follow. Every week there will be a weekly thread dedicated to all opponents newspapers articles.

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Minnesota Newspapers Thread

From AP, via KSTP-TV, Minneapolis
? Thread Started on Today at 4:23pm ?

From the Associated Press [looks like this writer views the FAU-Minnesota game pretty much as a scrimmage to help the Gophers get ready for conference foe Purdue the following week; see second to last paragraph]:

* * *

Maroney leads Gophers past Colorado State

Updated: 09/10/2005 10:48:33 PM

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - After another lopsided nonconference victory, Minnesota found many reasons to be unsatisfied with a not-quite-ready-for-prime-time performance. Or, rather, for Big Ten play.

Laurence Maroney rushed 26 times for 133 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Gophers to a mistake-filled 56-24 victory over Colorado State on Saturday.

"We definitely haven't hit our peak," center Greg Eslinger said, "and I guess that's a positive thing."

Maintaining his position as a darkhorse Heisman Trophy contender, Maroney gave Minnesota (2-0) room to breathe by scoring on runs of 2 and 32 yards in the second quarter. The Gophers rushed for a whopping 355 yards in all and held the Rams (0-2) to just 59 yards on 25 carries.

They forced three turnovers, too, and turned a blocked punt into a short touchdown during a 20-point third quarter. But the passing game was mostly out of rhythm, the receivers dropped more balls and the second-string defense yielded way too many yards.

"I feel good, but I don't feel good if that makes any sense to you," coach Glen Mason said. "We have to correct those things if we're going to come close to playing to our capabilities."

Freshman Jason Giannini also missed three extra points, one of which was blocked. He made three others plus a 37-yard field goal, but another freshman, Joel Monroe, took the two extra points in the fourth quarter and reopened the competition at that position.

"That job is wide open," Mason said.

Colorado State was a little too stunned to notice what Minnesota did wrong.

"This was a good old-fashioned butt-kicking," coach Sonny Lubick said. "We knew coming in that they'd be a strong football team, and they surely proved it to us."

Justin Holland threw a 33-yard scoring pass to a wide-open Dustin Osborn that cut the Gophers' lead to 22-10 with 1:36 left before halftime, the one glaring error by Minnesota's first-team defense.

"We didn't want to go into a week off in a somber mood," said Osborn, who caught seven passes for 102 yards and three touchdowns.

The Rams, who blew an 11-point lead at rival Colorado last week in a 31-28 loss, were competitive for a while but collapsed during a painful third quarter. Holland, a fifth-year senior, limped off with a sprained right ankle after losing a fumble to Mike Sherels - who also had an interception.

Holland - who went 12-for-23 for 211 yards - was walking around afterward, and he's expected to be all right. It's the team that's going to need a little rehabilitation.

"They invite you to run the ball," Holland said, "but their front seven did a nice job of stepping up and stopping us.

"We've got to come out and play cleaner ball."

Freshman cornerback Dominic Jones returned a punt 53 yards for the Gophers, and strong safety Dominique Barber - the brother of running back Marion Barber III, who is now in the NFL - had the blocked punt. Freshman Alex Daniels scooped it up and ran 13 yards for a score to put Minnesota ahead 42-10.

The Rams, coming off a disappointing 4-7 season, have lost nine of 11 away from home. Caleb Hanie replaced Holland in the fourth quarter and threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Osborn that made it 49-17.

That score was set up by a nifty 54-yard catch and run by John Walker, who broke several tackles and kept his balance on his way to the 7. Walker had five receptions for 116 yards. Hanie threw another scoring pass to Osborn with 1:04 left, capping an 18-play, 90-yard march.

It was during that drive when Mason and defensive coordinator David Lockwood sent the starters back in, upset that the second-stringers weren't able to do better.

"He wanted us to play harder, hold the offense from scoring," strong safety Brandon Owens said. "Basically just showing the second defense what it's all about to be on the field."

A clear majority of the announced Metrodome crowd of 40,221 was gone by the time Maroney's backup, Gary Russell, scored on an 11-yard run to make it 56-17 midway through the final quarter. Russell had two scores among his seven carries and 66 yards.

Jared Ellerson caught a 54-yard touchdown pass from Bryan Cupito in the third quarter that made it 35-10. Cupito completed only nine of his 21 passes for 159 yards and two TDs, with one interception.

With 13th-ranked Purdue looming in two weeks, the Gophers must make some improvements next Saturday against Florida Atlantic.

"We were real inconsistent these first two games," Cupito said. "We've just got to try to change that next week."

? Last Edit: Today at 4:28pm by grayowl ?

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Minnesota Newspapers Thread

From Minnesota Daily (student paper)
? Thread Started on Today at 11:37am ?

A student's view:

* * *
September 12, 2005


Defense active in Saturday win

By Matt Perkins

All offseason, Minnesota football made it impossible to talk about their defense without focusing attention on the new attitude they planned on having on the field this year.

And through the first two games of the season, they made that attitude very evident causing seven turnovers, including six forced fumbles.

The Gophers beat Colorado State on Saturday 56-24 in front of an announced crowd of 40,221 at the Metrodome, limiting the Rams to 59 rushing yards on 25 carries.

But with a 49-10 lead early in the fourth quarter, it appeared as if the new attitude abandoned the Gophers second-string defense, causing some concern for coach Glen Mason.

?I thought our defense played well again today. We put the second-teamers in and they stunk up the joint,? Mason said. ?Anyway, we have a lot of work to do, but there are a lot of good things out there.?

Colorado State scored two relatively easy touchdowns with less than 10 minutes left in the game. Both of the drives were helmed by Rams backup quarterback Caleb Hanie; one going for 77 yards in less than a minute, and the other a 90-yard, 18-play drive that kept the Gophers defense on the field for six minutes.

The standout performers for the Gophers were again strong safety Brandon Owens and linebacker Mike Sherels.

Owens had six tackles and a forced fumble, but more importantly made some hard hits downfield to make the Rams? receivers question where they were before reaching out for the deep ball. But even Owens shared Mason?s disappointment with the late game scores by the Rams.

?That shouldn?t happen. Just missed assignments, really,? Owens said. ?Stay in coverage, read the keys. Be in your zone at the right time. If (Mason) feels we?re not ready to play, or not knowing our assignments, then we should be out of the game. That?s the big thing, got to make assignments to play football.?

Sherels took home defensive player of the week honors, recording five tackles, recovering two fumbles and snagging an interception as well.

Sherels said, ?I would say an improvement as far as keeping our intensity up; we took a step back as far as in the fourth quarter, just kind of breaking down fundamentally.?

But the play that stole the show for the Gophers was the punt block that came in the third quarter. It was the first punt block the Gophers have had since their bowl game against Arkansas in 2002. Alex Daniels recovered the block and returned it 13 yards for a touchdown.

Offensively, the stars were again the offensive line and the guys in the backfield.

Laurence Maroney had what he would call an average game with 135 yards on 26 carries with two touchdowns.

Rather, it was backup running back Gary Russell that stole the show when he got the opportunity. Russell had just seven carries for 66 yards and two touchdowns.

Quarterback Bryan Cupito had typical numbers, going 9 of 21 passes for 159 yards and a couple of touchdowns.

But beyond the overall offensive and defensive performances by the Gophers lies a problem for Mason ? making sure his second-string defense is prepared to make plays when they get the chance. And it was fairly clear to him Saturday that they didn?t come out with the same intensity as the starters.

?You look at the stats, and a lot of those stats came late in the game when we were playing back on our heels,? Mason said. ?We had down-the-line guys in there, but I expected them to play better.?

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Minnesota Newspapers Thread

Re: From Minnesota Daily (student paper)
? Reply #1 on Today at 11:39am ?

Pre-season look by the Minnesota student paper says the really big game (Purdue) comes a week after Gophers face the Owls:

* * *



Matt Perkins

Minnesota?s football team is coming off back-to-back-to-back bowl wins, but now is looking to improve on the quality of bowl game this season.

The Music City Bowl can be satisfying for only so long before the fans crave more, and after a 5-0 start last season, fans couldn?t have been too satisfied with just a Music City Bowl win.

But the Gophers are prepared for tough competition in the Big Ten, fitted with possibility the best all-around team they have seen in recent years.

Minnesota junior quarterback Bryan Cupito will be called on this year to improve his numbers from last season. He threw for 2,097 yards and 14 touchdowns last season, while throwing seven interceptions.

Teammates say Cupito appears more confident on the field this season thanks to a lot of film study. The Gophers will need that confidence to show and his play to improve a bit if they expect to compete in the Big Ten.

Offensive line
The Gophers offensive line is led by 2004 All-American center Greg Eslinger and First-Team All-Big Ten guard Mark Setterstrom.

But the others can?t be overlooked, with Steve Shidell at left tackle, Mike Nicholson at right guard and Tony Brinkhaus at right tackle.

Joe Ainslie, who started the season at right tackle, is out indefinitely after surgery on his right hand.

The big guys up front hope to pave the way for the best running back in the Big Ten, Heisman hopeful Laurence Maroney.

Running backs
Maroney has become one of the best running backs in the country, and now that his good friend Marion Barber III has left for the NFL, he will be the main performer on stage for the Gophers.

He already has 338 yards rushing through two games this season, averaging more than seven yards per carry with four touchdowns.

His backups aren?t bad either. Gary Russell has 133 yards and four touchdowns on just 13 carries and Amir Pinnix has 115 yards on 25 carries.

Wide receivers
Sophomore wide receiver Ernie Wheelwright emerged last season as an impact player for the Gophers, but there were also plenty of dropped balls between him and Jared Ellerson last season.

Cupito will need to use both of them as threats again this season, but will have more options with 6-6 Micah Rucker and Logan Payne emerging as potential targets early this season.

Kyle McKenzie is the most experienced linebacker for the Gophers, but that may not matter.

Sophomore inside linebackers Mike Sherels and John Shevlin have provided an immediate impact to the Gopher defense. Sherels had a team-leading 11 tackles against Tulsa, and already has padded his stats with 16 tackles, one sack, two fumble recoveries and an interception through the Gophers? first two games.

Defensive line
Gopher nose tackle Anthony Montgomery is no doubt the leader of the Gophers? defensive front. Helping him out this season are defensive ends Keith Lipka and Steve Davis alongside defensive tackle Mark Losli.

Defensive backfield
Strong safety Brandon Owens and free safety John Pawielski head up a backfield that needs to improve this season, and cornerbacks Trumaine Banks and Jamal Harris round out the secondary.

The Gophers? biggest game is going to come against Purdue in week 4, a homecoming game that could make or break their season.

They follow that game with a couple of tough road games at Penn State and Michigan. Michigan didn?t look like itself against Notre Dame this weekend, but they are sure to be back to playing top notch football by the time the Gophers come to town.

If the Gophers can pull off a key win on the road at either Michigan or Iowa, and manage to pull off home wins against Wisconsin and Ohio State, they have a sincere shot at winning the Big Ten this season.
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Minnesota Newspapers Thread

From St. Paul Pioneer Press
? Thread Started on Today at 11:22am ?

News from St. Paul, Minn.:

* * *

Posted on Mon, Sep. 12, 2005

Mason not buying optimism

U coach keeping blinders on amid three Big Ten upsets

Pioneer Press

Glen Mason went home after a long day of football Saturday night and watched more football. There was a lot of it going on, and a lot of it was of interest to those interested in the Minnesota Gophers.

Big Ten Conference favorites Ohio State, Michigan and Iowa all lost on national television. Tulsa, hammered by the Gophers in their opener, took Oklahoma to the limit in Norman.

But Mason said he did not use the time to assess where his Gophers fit into the football universe.

"I don't care," he said. "Just about who we're playing."

That would be Florida Atlantic, on deck for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff Saturday at the Metrodome. The Owls are playing their first full season of Division I-A football and stand 0-2 after losses to Kansas and Oklahoma State.

But let's get back to last Saturday's games for a moment. Michigan fell at home to Notre Dame, Iowa came unglued at Iowa State, and Ohio State was eked out by second-ranked Texas in Columbus. Those were the Big Ten's top 10 teams heading into the weekend.

The facts were not lost on Gophers quarterback Bryan Cupito, acutely aware of what was going on around the conference as soon as Minnesota's 56-24 victory over Colorado State was officially in the books on Saturday.

"We've got one game left to get ready for the Big Ten and we'll have to see what happens," he said before noting the Wolverines' loss and Iowa's impending loss.

"We can be in there," he said.

Mason, of course, would not play that game on Sunday. He spoke briefly after looking at Saturday's game film and was even less enthusiastic than he was right after the game, when he spent more time lamenting the mistakes than celebrating the accomplishments.

"We're missing a lot of opportunities," he said Sunday. "I mean, we did a lot of good things, 56-24. And, really, the 24 is not indicative of how the defense played. But we missed some scoring opportunities."

Specifically, the Gophers lost the ball on downs from CSU's 3-yard line and were intercepted at the Rams' 2. Fullback Justin Valentine bobbled an easy touchdown pass before corralling it for a score, though replays showed he may well have been out of bounds when he finally gained control.

Cupito also under threw Jakari Wallace when he was wide open near the end zone.

"I was thinking more about the receivers who were wide open and dropped balls, and not getting the ball in down at the goal line," Mason said. "That's what I'm talking about."

The dropped balls and missed receivers have been vexing the coach longer than just this season. He and his players have cited specific missed opportunities as keys to close losses last season to Big Ten co-champs Iowa and Michigan.

Because the problems haven't gone away, Mason was asked if he's starting to believe that this is just a fact of life for these players.

"No, I don't get that sense at all," he said. "I don't get that sense at all."

Briefly: Cupito wasn't the only person taking notice of the Big Ten's problems on Saturday. Voters in the media and coaches polls dropped Michigan and Iowa out of the top 10.

Ohio State was ranked No. 9 in both polls, but Michigan fell to 14th in both and Iowa was ranked No. 21 by coaches and No. 22 by the media. Purdue is 12th in the media poll, 11th in the coaches poll.

Minnesota, incidentally, picked up more votes in each poll. The Gophers are up to 115 points in the coaches, two spots out of the top 25. In the media poll, they have 41 points, seven short of being ranked.

John Shipley covers University of Minnesota football. He can be reached at jshipley@pioneerpress.com.

? Last Edit: Today at 11:27am by grayowl ?

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Minnesota Newspapers Thread

More from St. Paul:

* * *

Posted on Sun, Sep. 11, 2005

Blocked punt saves special teams

Pioneer Press

Sophomore Dominique Barber and freshman Alex Daniels did their best to overshadow Minnesota's special-teams mistakes Saturday in a 56-24 victory over Colorado State.

No one could remember the last time Minnesota missed three extra-point kicks in a game, but Barber believed it had been too long since the Gophers scored a touchdown off a blocked punt.

"I'm glad we broke the curse," he said. "And I know we will get more in the future."

The last blocked punt for Minnesota was by Jared Ellerson in the Gophers' Music City Bowl victory over Arkansas on Dec. 30, 2002. Jermaine Mays was the last Gopher to return a blocked punt for a touchdown, earlier that year against Northwestern.

The three-year drought ended when Barber's hands deflected the ball as it left the foot of Colorado State punter Jim Kaylor with 7:25 left in the third quarter Saturday. Daniels returned the blocked kick 13 yards for a touchdown.

There was a reason why Daniels was in the right place at the right time.

"We always practice the scoop and score, so it was just natural," said Daniels, who was rated one of the top athletes in the nation in high school last year at Columbus, Ohio. "I'm thankful that everyone was doing their job so we could get the block."

Daniels and Barber have seen firsthand the increased emphasis on special teams this year. The Gophers blocked five punts during the 2002 season, and it's no secret Mason wants to get back that type of success.

For all the offseason work his team put in toward improving special teams, Mason had reason to feel especially disgusted with the three failed extra-point kicks.

"We have to correct those things if we're going to come close to playing to our capabilities," he said. "Having an extra point blocked like that, that can cost you a ballgame. There's no reason for that, and I write it off to coaching."

After going perfect on four extra points and two field-goal attempts last week against Tulsa, redshirt freshman Jason Giannini continued his perfect streak with a 37-yard field goal for the Gophers' first score.

Giannini's first extra-point kick was successful after Justin Valentine's 3-yard touchdown catch from Bryan Cupito to increase the lead to 10-0 to begin the second quarter.

But after Laurence Maroney's 2-yard scoring run midway through the second quarter, Giannini lost his rhythm. That kick was blocked, and his next two attempts were off target.

Freshman Joel Monroe of Brooklyn Park kicked the last two extra points for Minnesota.

Mason said the kicking job was by no means solidified, but Barber still has confidence in Giannini.

"He's a freshman kicker who is under a lot of pressure," he said. "But he has a lot of potential. He is usually pretty good in practice."

Marcus R. Fuller can be reached at mfuller@pioneerpress.com.
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From St. Paul, a thumbnail review of Minnesota's thrashing of Colorado State:

* * *

Posted on Sun, Sep. 11, 2005


After a slow first quarter, the Gophers turned it on and never stopped, gradually overwhelming Colorado State. The best play was a 54-yard TD strike from Bryan Cupito to Jared Ellerson.

Edge: Minnesota


The Gophers denied CSU's attempts to establish a ground game, holding the Rams to 20 first-half rushing yards. When CSU went to its passing game, the Rams were down 22-3 and couldn't get anything going, anyway. When middle linebacker Mike Sherels intercepted a Justin Holland pass midway through the third quarter, dominance was established. The Gophers forced three turnovers and have a plus-4 turnover margin in their two games.

Edge: Minnesota


True freshman Dominic Jones set up a touchdown with a spectacular 53-yard punt return to CSU's 12-yard line in the second quarter. The Gophers turned it into a rout when Dominique Barber blocked a punt that was picked by Alex Daniels, who ran 13 yards for a touchdown. No contest.

Edge: Minnesota


For some reason, CSU's Sonny Lubick tried to establish the run early instead of challenging a young secondary deep. The Rams ran 12 times for 20 yards in the first half, falling behind 22-3 before committing to a comeback through the air. By then it was too late. The Gophers, on the other hand, stuck with their strength, running right at the Rams and sprinkling in long passes. It all worked.

Edge: Minnesota
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Minnesota Newspapers Thread

From Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

* * *

Last update: September 14, 2005 at 6:55 AM

Gophers' next foe: Florida Atlantic

Jeff Shelman, Star Tribune
September 14, 2005 UFOT0914

The name Florida Atlantic University doesn't exactly generate grand images of college football's pageantry.

The Owls, who hail from Boca Raton in South Florida, certainly aren't going to be confused with the Florida Gators, Florida State Seminoles or Miami Hurricanes. The word "Atlantic" doesn't have anything to do with the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Rather, the Owls, who visit the Gophers on Saturday night, are pretty much the opposite of Florida's football elite. This is only Florida Atlantic's fifth season of playing football and second as a Division I-A member. The Owls play in the Sun Belt Conference, far from the bright lights of the Bowl Championship Series conferences.

That said, Florida Atlantic does have Howard Schnellenberger. And to say that he gives some instant credibility to the infant Owls is a significant understatement.

Schnellenberger's football legacy will ultimately be two-fold: He learned under some of the sport's greatest coaches, and he was a program builder.

Schnellenberger played at Kentucky under legendary coach Paul (Bear) Bryant. Three of the four coaches he served as an assistant under were Bryant, Don Shula and George Allen.

In 1979, Schnellenberger was hired at Miami (Fla.). He built the Hurricanes into a national power, winning the national title in 1983.

From there, Schnellenberger took over Louisville, a downtrodden program in his hometown. The Cardinals went 10-1-1 in 1990 and 9-3 in 1993.

"Us in college football who have been around for a while really respect the job that he has done," Gophers coach Glen Mason said. "To think in the late '70s, Miami of Florida was going to drop football. Drop it. They thought they had no chance of winning, making money, being able to field a team. And Howard went in there and turned it into a national championship.

"At least in my estimation, the popularity of Louisville football and the success that they're having can be traced back to the job Howard Schnellenberger did while he was there."

The only times Schnellenberger failed was when he took jobs where immediate success was expected. Hired by the Baltimore Colts before the 1973 season, Schnellenberger lasted only 17 games before being fired.

After rebuilding Louisville, Schnellenberger was hired at Oklahoma before the 1995 season. He lasted only one season in Norman, fired after going 5-5-1.

At that point, Schnellenberger moved back to South Florida and had little interest in coaching again. But the idea of starting a program from scratch was enough to pull him from retirement.

"To be able to be part of the inception and birth of a new college football program, particularly in South Florida was very exciting to me," Schnellenberger said. "I don't think I would have gotten back into football for anything different than this."

While Schnellenberger's task is difficult, Florida Atlantic has made steady progress. Initially a Division I-AA program, Florida Atlantic went 4-6 in 2001, the program's first season, and 2-9 in 2002.

In 2003, Florida Atlantic – with a roster made up almost entirely of in-state recruits – reached the I-AA semifinals.

The Owls jumped to Division I-A a year ago and promptly won at Hawaii and North Texas, teams that reached bowl games. They finished 9-3.

This season's roster is young – the Owls are expected to start only three seniors – but Florida Atlantic wasn't embarrassed in losses to Kansas and Oklahoma State.

"The fact that we came up short in these first two games against very solid, traditional Big 12 Conference teams is sad because we didn't win," Schnellenberger said. "But on the other hand, it was really exciting that we were able to match up as well as we did and play as hard as we did in each game."

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From St. Paul Pioneer Press:

* * *

Posted on Wed, Sep. 14, 2005

Maroney thinking ahead

Pioneer Press

The University of Minnesota has one more nonconference game on its schedule, but tailback Laurence Maroney has the Big Ten Conference on his mind.

"It's a nice, long season," he said. "I'm ready for the Big Ten to start."

That won't happen until Sept. 30, when Purdue comes to town for a nationally televised game that will go a long way toward determining just how good the Gophers are. Before then, however, Florida Atlantic comes to the Metrodome for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff on Saturday.

It's understandable if Maroney is restless; the Gophers have pounded their two nonconference opponents by a combined 98-34, and Maroney got an eyeful of Big Ten teams playing big games over the weekend.

Ohio State, Michigan and Iowa all lost on national TV.

"That's good for us," Maroney said. "They were great games. They played hard, and I learned a lot about those defenses."

The biggest game was No. 2 Texas at then-No. 4 Ohio State, where the Longhorns rallied late for an electrifying 25-22 victory in the Horseshoe. Texas quarterback Vince Young emerged as a Heisman Trophy contender, but Ohio State linebackers Bobby Carpenter and A.J. Hawk just about upstaged him.

"Those linebackers are unreal," Maroney said. "They're beasts."

The pair was everywhere in the prime-time game, combining for 26 tackles, five of them for losses. Hawk also forced and recovered a fumble and intercepted a pass. Still, Maroney isn't convinced they're the best linebacker tandem in the Big Ten.

Iowa seniors Chad Greenway and Abdul Hodge have juice, too. "Greenway and Abdul, they ain't shortchanging it," he said.

Brutal schedule: Florida Atlantic is a fledgling member of the Sun Belt Conference playing its first full season of Division I-A football. While the conference schedule doesn't include any giants, the Owls opened with losses to Kansas (30-19) and Oklahoma State (23-3), and play at Louisville two weeks after coming to Minnesota.

"You're probably going to think I'm being self-serving, but I think (Minnesota is) going to be better than the first two teams we played," Owls coach Howard Schnellenberger said.

FAU stayed competitive in each of its first two games, but like most rebuilding teams, it has big, talented athletes at the head of the two-deep and thins out quickly.

"When you are talking Big Ten and Big 12, you are talking top of the line, played by the most highly recruited players in the land," Schnellenberger said. "It is a bear to measure up to that talent and experience."

John Shipley covers University of Minnesota football. He can be reached at jshipley@pioneerpress.com.

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Minnesota Newspapers Thread

I agree with Coach in this one. The Gophers are better than the last two teams.

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