More of the Same
October 30, 2010

In what is shaping up to be the worst season in University of Minnesota football history, the Gophers on Saturday night were stampeded by Ohio State in a 52-10 route at the hands of No. 10-ranked Ohio State at TCF Bank Stadium.

The rampaging Buckeyes more than doubled the Gophers in total yardage with a 507-232 advantage, including 277 total yards and three touchdowns from junior quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

The football program and the U sank to new lows in the loss. The team has not won at its glitzy new stadium since the Gophers barely defeated South Dakota State on November 14, 2009. To add insult to injury, Minnesota was defeated at home this year by South Dakota State’s inferior cousin, the University of South Dakota.

In searching for a more dismal season, one has to go back to 1983, the last for head coach Joe Salem. The Gophers won only one game that year but at least it was against a quality opponent from the Southwestern Conference. The lone win this year came against Middle Tennessee State, a member of the unheralded Sun Belt Conference. (Middle Tennessee State currently has a won-loss record of 3-4.) It should be added that, for that game, the Gophers were able to get a win only because their opponent’s star quarterback had been suspended.

Former head coach Tim Brewster arrived on the scene in Minneapolis in 2007 promising a Rose Bowl appearance for “Gopher nation.” He had no college head coaching experience but sold athletic director Joel Maturi on his alleged recruiting ability. He indicated that his predecessor, Glen Mason had “left the cupboard bare,” but he would fix that by attracting quality recruits to Minnesota. As it turned out, the only players Brewster enjoyed any success with had been previously recruited by Mason. Brewster was a fraud and paid for it when Maturi fired him in mid season. This left the head coaching job to assistant Jeff Horton who, unlike Brewster, had previous head coaching experience. But that’s not enough to hold together an weak team that is rapidly circling the drain. At least there have been no defections, but that is small solace for a team of Gophers ranking last in the Big Ten. Horton seems to be a nice guy, but there is no question that he won’t be on campus when next season rolls around.

On Saturday night, Ohio State dominated the game in all phases of offense, defense, and special teams. “Obviously, Ohio State was the best football team tonight,” Horton told reporters after the game. “They beat us in all three phases of the football game. They came out moving the ball and scoring. I thought we answered really well in the beginning to tie the score up. We just had trouble slowing them down.”

After Pryor’s one-yard touchdown scamper concluded the game’s opening drive, Minnesota charged right back with an 11-play, 46-yard drive that was capped by a seven-yard scoring run by junior running back DeLeon Eskridge to even the score at 7-7 midway through the first quarter.

However, the Buckeyes would go on to outscore the Gophers 45-3 in the remainder of the game, including a four-play, 74-yard drive on the next series that ended with Pryor hitting running back Brandon Saine with a three-yard toss in the end zone for the first of Pryor’s two touchdown passes in the game.

The Buckeye quarterback easily completed 18 of 22 passes on the night, throwing for 222 yards while adding an additional 55 yards and one touchdown on the ground. Pryor was one of three Ohio State players to tally touchdown runs in the game. Running back Dan Herron had a game-high 114 rushing yards. Meanwhile, junior wide receiver DeVier Posey hauled in Pryor’s second touchdown toss - the highlight of a game-leading 115-yard performance for Posey.

For Minnesota, senior quarterback Adam Weber threw for 162 yards, completing 9 of 20 passes with an interception. Weber hit six different Gopher receivers in the contest, including sophomore MarQueis Gray, who led Minnesota with three catches for 81 yards. Eskridge was Minnesota’s featured back against the Buckeyes, with 23 carries for 79 yards and Minnesota’s lone touchdown.

Minnesota returns to action next week against Michigan State. The previously-ranked No. 5 Spartans endured their first loss of the season on Saturday with a shocking 37-6 defeat in Iowa City at the hands of the Iowa Hawkeyes. The Spartans will be looking to regain some of their BCS status at the hands of the inept Gophers.

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