The Minnesota Golden Gophers football team went into Evanston, well, maybe they never actually showed up.
Oh, the difference a week makes in the Big Ten, apparently. A week ago, the Minnesota Golden Gophers football team looked like they had turned a corner in their win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Yeah, that was a figment of our imagination, because the Gophers team played against Nebraska didn’t show up at all against the Northwestern Wildcats.
The Gophers looked dreadful on all sides of the ball in a 39-0 loss. The first time the Gophers have been shutout since October 2015. It’s the first time this season that Northwestern has pitched a shutout. Heck, in only one other game did they not allow double-digits and that was when Bowling Green only scored a touchdown against them in mid-September.
Demry Croft looked like he was ready to be at least somewhat of an okay quarterback against Nebraska, but that turned into three interceptions on 2-11 passing. Those two passes were right away in the Gophers first offensive possession of the game which looked alright and gave a little hope for a couple minutes. It didn’t last long.
Last week, Croft set the school record for rushing yards for quarterback in a single game. Against Northwestern, Croft was credited for negative 17 rushing yards. Yes, negative. The one thing that Croft is supposed to be good at didn’t exactly pan out on Saturday.
Croft didn’t get any help from his receivers. Tyler Johnson was out for the game, but Croft did multiple times hit his replacements in the hands only to result in a drop.
This is all a long set up to say the Gophers simply stun on Saturday. It is pretty much the illustration of the season.
At the beginning of the season, I wrote a piece about what would constitute a successful season for the Gophers. Barring a miracle against the Wisconsin Badgers in the final week of the season, the Gophers will not reach the parameters that I set out.
Simply, the Gophers needed to be .500 to call it a successful season. The Gophers won’t reach that unless they somehow beat the Badgers.
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Also, to make it really successful, the Gophers had to win a trophy game to call it a successful season. The Gophers lost their trophy games to Iowa and Michigan. Again, this would change if the miracle of the century happened in the Gophers defeating Wisconsin.
I don’t think it was asking much for the Gophers to go .500 this season. The Gophers had such an easy early Big Ten schedule that it would have been hard for the Gophers not to reach that mark, but here we are.
It is not time to fire P.J. Fleck. Let’s be like the Philadelphia 76ers here a little bit and trust the process. I do believe we can trust the process and still call this season what it is: a failure.
This all changes if the miracle of a Gopher win over the Badgers happens. Let’s all be hoping for a miracle.
The Gophers and Badgers will be facing off at TCF Bank Stadium. The game will take place on Saturday, November 25.