Saturday, September 8, 2007

Game Thread: RedHawks at Gophers

My girlfriend went to Ohio University and last week informed me that the Gophers would have no problem with BGSU. She's saying much the same today about Miami (Ohio). At one point she asked if the Gophers had joined the MAC. I told her no, but maybe they should. Anyway, I've also learned that the OU Bobcats called Miami (Ohio) 'J Crew U' because apparently they are too 'preppy.' Whatever.

Today's game is do or die for the 2007 Minnesota seaason.

I'm going to update this throughout the game again with thoughts. Be sure to add your thoughts. I have to run out in the middle of the first quarter to pick up my car. So that will explain any lull in updates.

** The Gophers look far more crisp on their first drive. Adam Weber, other than one pass, has been precise. Amir Pinnix has been involved and Harold Howell was used effectively on an end-around. Tray Herndon has been the go-to receiver on this possession and has looked good. On a quarterback draw, Weber puts the Gophers up. Minnesota 7, RedHawks 0. Better than last week when we were down 14-0 at this point.

** So much for Tim Brewster's 'special forces.' RedHawks block punt and are now in position to tie the game. But Minnesota's defense, which put some pressure on Miami's quarterback, hold for three. Minnesota 7, RedHawks 3.

** Last week, Mike Chambers was playing in the secondary. Today, he's your leading receiver so far with three receptions and just went for 38 on a fancy reverse. In other news, Bowling Green is giving Michigan State fits and Ohio State is losing in the second quarter to Akron. Too early on those games, but still.

** After the Chambers reverse, Weber connects with Ernie Wheelright for a 30+ yard score on a post-corner route. Very efficient drive for the Gophers. Minnesota 14, RedHawks 3

** After another nice stop by the defense, Adam Weber fumbles on an option. The RedHawks had the option contained and Weber tried to push forward and was stripped. The Gophers could have put the RedHawks in a deep hole, instead, we'll see if the 'Hawks make it a game. I'd chalk that up to a nice defensive play (and Weber not protecting the ball) moreso than a freshman mistake.

** The turnover turns into 6, as the 'Hawks continue to throw. A quick slant turned into more than it needed to because of a missed tackle (missed who it was). Extra point missed. Minnesota 14, RedHawks 9.

** The Gophers go back to the running game and put themselves in position to answer. Both Amir Pinnix and Duane Bennett break nice runs on the drive. Eric Decker made his first two catches on this drive and on the second one he did a good job of putting his head down and fighting for yardage. But the Gophers come away with nothing in part because of one of the spread's weaknesses. On 3rd and 1 on the Miami 5 yard line, the Gophers--for just the second time today--line up with Weber under center. The only receiver on the field, Decker, lined up beside the gith end. Weber handed off to Pinnix who got stuffed. It's hard to run out of that formation when you haven't used it all game. It's completely predictable. Same thing on fourth down--instead this Decker is lined up wide right. Pinnix stuffed and the Gophers come away with nothing.

Halftime: Thoughts ... The Gophers need to protect the football. All nine of Miami's points have come off of turnovers. And our offense is moving the football. We just need to make sure we come away with points when we have the ball on the five yard line. Even if that means 3.

** After Deion Hightower and Ryan Collado look good in stopping Miami on a 3-and-out, the Gophers have an inexplicable possession. Amir Pinnix and Adam Weber combine to start off nicely on the ground. But after a first down, Mike Dunbar goes to the air for three straight plays/incompletions. In the first half today the Gophers ran more than they did last week. But Dunbar needs to realize that his team moves the ball best on the ground and that he can mix in Herndon, Wheelright, Decker and company. Keep running! Sheesh.

** Right when you praise Collado, he hurts you. First, he gets burned on a slant and then on a quick screen. Collado couldn't wrap up on either play. Then the Gophers get hurt on a blitz. Everett Withers brings two extra guys and Miami had the right play called in a draw with runningback Brandon Murphy puts the 'Hawks in a position to score. The momentum is clearly in Miami's favor. In the red zone Miami spreads the field but can't get in for 6. Minnesota 14, RedHawks 12.

** A drive that saw a good mix of run and pass--and some nice decision-making by Weber ends with nothing because Jason Gianniani missed his second field goal of the game. Timmy Brewster doesn't look happy.

** Horrible defense by Duran Cooley on a 55 yard pass to Miami's Chris Givens. Cooley about ran a full-circle around Givens and looked completely lost. Givens still almost botched the reception but did hang on. Third quarter is over and Miami is about to take a lead.

** Whew! Senior Jamal Harris grabs the first interception of the season. The Gophers were rushing only three and were rewarded when the pass was completely underthrown. The Miami receiver was open, but Harris made the play that he needed to make.

** Adam Weber hits his hot receiver, Eric Decker, as the 'Hawks brought the house. Decker put on the jets down the sidelines for six. Brewster can breathe! Minnesota 21, Miami 12.

** Harold Howell makes me incredibly nervous, holding the ball away from his body. It looked to me like he fumbled, but must have been ruled down. Brewster was right to chew him out. This is the guy Brewster has talked up endlessly. I have been far more scared than excited when he's touched the ball in two games.

** The Gophers pretty much put the game away! After Miami turns the ball over inside the 20, Weber tosses a pretty fade to Wheelright for 6 more. Minnesota 28, RedHawks 12. Unless all hell breaks loose--and Brewster's Gophers pull defeat from the jaws of victory (This wouldn't be anything new for 'Gopher Nation)--this will be the last update on this thread.

** Yeah, I'm back. A big thanks to Ryan Collado who was destroyed on three consecutive plays. This also came as Miami brought in its backup quarterback Daniel Raddabaugh (sp?). The 'Hawks run the option on a two-point conversion and fail. Minnesota 28, RedHawks 18. This puts pressure on Weber, Pinnix, Bennett and Coach Dunbar to take time off the clock.

** RedHawks backup quarterback Daniel Raddabaugh meet Minnesota's sieve-like defense. You come in, we sit back on our heels and let you pick us apart. Tim Brewster, like his predecessor, knows how to surrender leads and surrender them quickly. Unbelievable. Raddabaugh to Givens for 6. Three minutes left. Minnesota 28, RedHawks 25.

** Well, now the Gophers are just being plain stupid. Miami is out of timeouts and on 2nd down and 8, instead of giving it to Pinnix, the Gophers throw to frosh Herndon. Incomplete. Clock Stops. Third down. Miami still has not timeouts. Wheelright drops a pass. Incomplete. Clock stops. The Gophers took a whopping 50 seconds off the cock. Here comes Miami. OT would be a good result here for Brewster considering how amazingly porous the defense has been the last two possessions.

** This is where Willie VanDeSteeg needs to make his first appearance of the year and grab a sack. Instead, just like last week Everett Withers is rushing three (sometiems four) and sitting back in a soft Cover-2.

** The 'Hawks make a 38 yard field goal to force overtime. Fuck. The second straight week a MAC team takes us to OT at home. Sad. Very sad. The Gophers have effectively pulled defeat from the jaws of victory. Minnesota 28, Miami (Ohio) 28.


** The Gophers were scorched on the ground on the first play for 20+ yards and the rest was fairly automatic. The 'Hawks take a seven point lead. Brewster, Withers and Dunbar should be embarrassed. RedHawks 35, Minnesota 28.

** On 3rd and 10ish, Weber hits Decker for 6. Brewster's too scared to go for two and ties the game at 35.

** Now in the second OT, Weber is doing some thigns well. He audibles away from a blitz and keeps an option for 8 yards. It looked like he audibled again on 3rd and 2 to a short wide receiver screen to Decker for the first. On the groud again, Weber keeps running hard. But at the Gophers stall inside the 5--in part because the offense becomes predictable when not in the shotgun. The Gophers settle for a Giannini attempt and he misses. This about seals an 0-2.

** Miami (Ohio) can't make field goals either. Gophers still alive.

** In the third OT, the Gophers start to put pressure on Raddabaugh. The result? Jamal Harris intercepts a ball in the endzone. The Gophers score, they win.

** The Gophers keep the ball on the groud (wisely) in this OT. Pinnix puts his head down and gets the Gophesr a win. Wow. Minnesota 41, 'Hawks 35.

Final Thoughts:

As Miami came roaring back, it became clear that the Gophers would be only an average MAC team if they were in that non-BCS conference. For all the talking Tim Brewster did in the preseason, it's clear that the talent Glen Mason had assembled doesn't translate well into the spread. It's also clear that no matter who is on the field, the Gophers can't cover average MAC teams and can't put any pressure on the quarterback, even when they rush seven defenders. This is going to be a long season for the Gophers.

Some questions: The stands looked empty today and it's only going to get worse. How long will the fans stick with Brewster? Will someone lose their starting spot in the secondary this week? Does Collado go back to the bench? How about Cooley? Where has VanDeSteeg been? How will Brewtser explain throwing two out of three times when the team was trying to run out the clock? Sheesh.

In the end, Brewster deserves some congratulations. You only win your first game once. So, congrats Tim. But the Big Ten schedule is on the horizon and I'm starting to believe the Gophers will have a tough time winning any conference games.


Dan said...

I'm glad I have Comcast. Another game we should win but another game I think we'll let slip away.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for these updates, PJS. I can't see the game. The bit on Chambers is kinda amazing.

dan said...

The Gophers might win this one, but it's clear this is going to be a long season for Tim Brewster and company.

PJS said...

I'm not so sure they are going to win this one, Dan.

UpsetGophersFan said...

Brewster's defense is a joke just like Mason's was. Some things never change

Anonymous said...

Wow. the gophers suck. will this blog fold now because this team is so bad? I predict so.

Anonymous said...

oh my god. I predict this blog folds in embarrassment. Two losses to two woeful teams. Big 10? More like Little Weeny 10. Sad.

This is awful.

Anonymous said...

The gophers won't win but maybe 1 conference game PJS. You know this. It's nice to see you admit it.

Michigan fan Oscar

PJS said...

Could very well be true, Oscar. But your boys have there own problems to worry about. Namely not going 0-2.

Erik said...

Boy the rampant whiny defeatism is starting to grate on me.

PJS said...

Erik, just be happy you're not a Michigan fan.

Anonymous said...

The saddest thing about Gopher football is the number of fair weather fans. What losers.