Minnesota Gophers name Conor Rhoda starting quarterback


In advance of Saturday’s home match up against Middle Tennessee State, P.J. Fleck named Conor Rhoda as the starting quarterback of the Minnesota Gophers.

Although it was never vocalized until today, it was evident that the Minnesota Gophers were moving forward with Conor Rhoda as their quarterback. He took most of the second half snaps in the rout of Oregon State. It is worth noting that the Golden Gophers piled up 28 points in that second half.

Up until Saturday’s game, the senior Rhoda was sharing reps at quarterback with sophomore Demry Croft. After Croft lost a fumble in a lackluster first half for the Gophers, coach P.J. Fleck opted for the Cretin-Derham Hall graduate. The Gophers then rattled off 28 unanswered points in the second half en route to a 48-14 victory.

It was clear that Rhoda already had the advantage if their ever was a position battle with Croft. The Rockford, Illinois native only threw for 63 yards in the Gopher’s game against Buffalo. He did not throw or complete a pass this past week against the Beavers. Croft did have one 64 yard jaunt to the end zone, but it seems the lost fumble was the straw that broke Fleck’s back.

Rhoda, on the other hand has shown his capabilities as a passer over the past two weeks. Against Buffalo, he completed 60 percent of his passes for 176 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. A respectable effort in a very badly played game by the Gophers all around.

This past Saturday, the Eagan, Minnesota native completed seven of eight passes for 158 yards and a touchdown. An extremely nice stat line, and not to mention, a better performance for Minnesota, against a more worthy opponent no less.

However, this does not mean that Rhoda will be the only quarterback utilized, he has just been named the “starter”. Demry Croft, though lacking in passing ability compared to Rhoda, possesses the athleticism to make plays with his legs. Just do not expect Rhoda and Croft to be splitting snaps like they did before.

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Oregon State is by no means a high-end opponent. Though they are in the Pac-12, they were shellacked by Colorado State, a Mountain West team. The Beavers also barely defeated Portland State, an FCS school. So Rhoda’s output could be skewed a bit due to the opponent and sample size.

I am not trying to take away from his success, I am just thinking logically. Rhoda may not reach the same level of prosperity once Big Ten play begins in two weeks against Maryland. The match up this week certainly bodes well for Rhoda and the Gophers however, as they meet another less than formidable opponent in Middle Tennessee State.

For now, Conor Rhoda deserves to be the guy for the Minnesota Gophers moving forward, as Fleck vocalized.

Next: Gophers Flatten Beavers

The Gophers now look ahead to Saturday for a home game against the bitter rivals, Middle Tennessee State. The game is set for 2:30 from TCF Bank Stadium.