Andy Greder / St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS — The Gophers' top two running backs, Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks, are on track to return to action against Maryland on Saturday, Sept. 30, at TCF Bank Stadium. "As of (Monday), in terms of how it's looking, they will both be available for Saturday," coach P.J. Fleck said. Smith didn't play in the second half of the 34-3 victory over Middle Tennessee State on Sept. 16. After rushing 16 times for 107 yards, he took a big hit late in the second quarter and needed medical attention.
MINNEAPOLIS—P.J. Fleck was in peak form with one comment about the stellar performances his defense has produced in the Gophers' 3-0 run through nonconference play. The Minnesota coach first praised them for their pursuit to the ball during the third consecutive second-half shutout in the 34-3 win Saturday, Sept. 16, over Middle Tennessee State at TCF Bank Stadium.
MINNEAPOLIS—Minnesota running backs Rodney Smith and Kobe McCrary each rushed for 107 yards, which was more than the 46 rushing yards Middle Tennessee State gained as a team, in the Golden Gophers' 34-3 win Saturday, Sept. 16, at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Kobe McCrary scored three touchdowns for the Golden Gophers, who outgained Middle Tennessee State 221-46 on the ground.
MINNEAPOLIS — Throughout preseason camp and the opening two games of the season, the competition between quarterbacks Conor Rhoda and Demry Croft was perhaps the top storyline of coach P.J. Fleck's first season as coach. But with Rhoda named the outright starter Monday, Sept.11, and Fleck announcing Tuesday, Sept. 12, that Croft will be away from the team — possibly for the foreseeable future — Seth Green enters the picture as Rhoda's backup for Saturday afternoon's game against Middle Tennessee State at TCF Bank Stadium.
MINNEAPOLIS — Backup quarterback Demry Croft will be away from the Gophers football team for Saturday's game against Middle Tennessee State at TCF Bank Stadium, coach P.J. Fleck said Tuesday, Sept. 12. "He is dealing with some personal issues that are way, way more important than football, so it's my job as a head football coach to get him what he needs," Fleck said. "We are going to help him any way we can. I'm not going to get into that, in respect to his privacy and his personal life."
MINNEAPOLIS — Middle Tennessee State wants to spoil a pair of Gophers seasons in 2017. After the 12th-seeded Blue Raiders toppled No. 5 Minnesota in the first round of the NCAA men's basketball tournament in March, the Conference USA program again wants to take down the Big Ten school in a nonconference football game at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium.
MINNEAPOLIS — Gophers coach P.J. Fleck named Conor Rhoda the starting quarterback after his performance in Saturday night's 48-14 victory over Oregon State. "He's earned that," Fleck said Monday, Sept. 11. Rhoda, a senior from Cretin-Derham Hall, shared snaps with Demry Croft, a sophomore from Rockford, Ill., in the first six quarters of the season. But after Croft fumbled and lost the ball after not falling on it before halftime of Saturday's game in Corvallis, Ore., Rhoda took the majority of the reps in the second half against the Beavers.
CORVALLIS, Ore.—Minnesota Gophers football coach P.J. Fleck has been prodding and clamoring for either quarterback Conor Rhoda or Demry Croft to assert ownership of the team since spring practices began in March. While the Gophers relied heavily on the run in their 48-14 win over Oregon State on Saturday night, Sept. 9—58 rushes to eight passes—one quarterback took the reins in Reser Stadium. "(Saturday) was the first time I watched Conor Rhoda control a football team," Fleck said.
CORVALLIS, Ore.—The Minnesota defense forced and recovered three Oregon State fumbles, leading to 17 points in a 48-14 romp over the Beavers late Saturday night, Sept. 9, at Reser Stadium. As the Gophers improved to 2-0 and provided coach P.J. Fleck his first road win, defenders Duke McGhee, Thomas Barber and Gary Moore forced the fumbles, and Jon Celestin, Kamal Martin and Kiondre Thomas recovered them. After being even on turnover margin in the narrow win over Buffalo, the Gophers surged ahead with a plus-two in the blowout of the Beavers (1-2).
CORVALLIS, Ore.—A pair of hardcover copies of an influential book on P.J. Fleck's coaching philosophy rested on a high shelf in the upstairs Purple Room in the enormous Powell's City of Books in downtown Portland. As Minnesota played Oregon State about 85 miles to the south on Saturday night, Sept. 9 (the game was not complete at presstime), the book "It's Your Ship" has insights and parallels to the culture Fleck's instilling in the Gophers during his debut season.