After a very good run through the non-conference portion of their schedule, the Minnesota Golden Gophers blew it in the conference opener.
The game was over when…the Gophers offense failed to get points following Brock Vereen's interception in the end zone. The Gophers got just one first down and 23 yards in nine plays. The end result of the three minute and 40 second drive was a punt. The Hawkeyes marched down the field and tacked on a field goal to extend the to 16 points. The Gophers never really threatened again.
The reason for optimism is…it can't get any worse. The Gophers played just about as poorly as they possibly could, which means there is no place to go but up.
The reason to worry is…it is a mess right now. Neither quarterback has proven they can consistently throw the ball with any effectiveness. The offensive and defensive lines were manhandled. The receivers have not been consistently catching the ball. The defensive backs are having trouble getting and staying healthy as well as playing consistent coverage. The whole team in general is having trouble being consistent.
The unsung heroes were…Derrick Engel on offense and Cameron Botticelli on defense. Engel, a wide receiver, had five catches for 67 yards and one touchdown. Botticelli, a defensive tackle, recorded four tackles, including two for a loss.