October 2012 Archives

Gophers Recall Childhood Halloween Costumes

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Today is Halloween, so we decided to catch up with a few Minnesota football players and find out what their favorite costume was growing up.

Peter Westerhaus: "I was always either a cowboy or a football player"

Joe Bjorklund: "When I was like four years old I was actually a pumpkin. I was painted all orange and had a full pumpkin suit."

KJ Maye: "Superman"

Jonah Pirsig: "I was an M&M"

Dan Orseske: "Sting from WCW"

James Gillum: "Power Rangers"

Andre McDonald: "I actually had a life size Barney doll and I cut the eyes out, took out the stuffing, and made it into a costume."

Josh Campion: "I was Scream back in the day."

Aaron Hill: "My favorite Halloween costume would probably be the Power Rangers."

Theiren Cockran: "Spiderman and Superman."

What They're Saying - October 31

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U preparing for Robinson (1500 ESPN)

Chips Scoggins was a tailgater (Star Tribune)

"Beating Michigan -- that was like winning the Holy Grail." (Shooter)

Taking snaps by the hotel swimming pool (Star Tribune)

AUDIO: Coach Z was on the radio (1500 ESPN)

Some Gophers are not practicing (Star Tribune)

Foggie on Nelson: "There was no shock factor. He knew what he was doing." (Pioneer Press)

Big task to handle on Saturday (Star Tribune)

58-0 is hard to forget (Star Tribune)

Minnesota's coaching stability helped make Nelson a Gopher (Star Tribune)

Nelson showed what he can do (FSN and Star Tribune)

Starting Nelson was the right thing to do (Sid) and he impressed everyone but himself (Star Tribune)

U offense fits Nelson (Star Tribune)

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What They're Saying - October 30

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Must Read: Cosgrove inspires (Minnesota Daily)

Heads were shaved, money and awareness were raised (GopherSports)

The long locks of Mike Rallis are gone (BTN.com)

Gophers shave heads for a good cause (FSN.com and UMN.edu) and there were many pictures (FSN.com)

VIDEO: Lots of heads were shaved (Star Tribune)

Mike Rallis: It's all about Connor (Pioneer Press) and raising awareness for pediatric cancer research (Fox 9)

Mia Tabberson shaved her head as well (WCCO) and looks fantastic (Minnesota Daily)

Instant Analysis: Minnesota 1, Canisius 0

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Thoughts from the Gophers' 1-0 victory over Canisius.

Wilcox Gets the Shutout

Freshman goalie Adam Wilcox recorded his first career shutout today. He made 20 saves including some dandies late. With about five minutes remaining, he denied Kyle Gibbons. Gibbons was behind the defense and was trying to poke the puck passed Wilcox. Then, after the Griffins pulled goalie Tony Capobianco, Adam made another set of saves with the Canisius players swarming the net. Wilcox needed to make all 20 saves today because Capobianco turned in a 41-save effort to hold the Gophers to one goal. Wilcox is now 3-0 on the season with a 1.13 GAA and a .934 SV%.

Rau was Ready

As a Sunday crowd was still settling into their seats at Mariucci Arena, Kyle Rau was busy giving the Gophers the lead. Rau scored just twelve seconds into the game. Kyle put the Gophers on the front foot with a nice tip in front of the net, off of a point shot from defenseman Jake Parenteau. Rau was making up for lost time after having to sit out Friday's game to rest an injury. The fastest goal to start a game in Gophers' history was in 1968. Bill Klatt scored after a mere five seconds.

How You Start is How You Finish

Including the exhibition games, the Gophers have now played seven times. Five times, they have had a lead after the first period, and each time they have won. In fact, the Gophers have not trailed in a game all season after taking a lead into the first intermission. In the two games the Gophers have failed to win, including Friday's exhibition vs. the US Under-18 team, Minnesota was trailing after 20 minutes.

 

Marshall Moves to Forward

Ben Marshall played on the second line tonight with Erik Haula and Zach Budish. Marshall becomes the third Gopher defenseman to play as a forward this season, joining Justin Holl and Jake Parenteau. The Gophers have the luxury of having defensemen that can adjust to a different role throughout the season. Marshall showed ability to adapt during the game, after playing forward at full-strength he played a defensive role on the penalty kill.

Back to the WCHA Grind

Next week, the Gophers will head back into WCHA play, for the first of three-straight weekends. Next week, the Gophers will tangle with the Minnesota State, Mankato Mavericks. The Mavericks stumbled this weekend in their first foray into WCHA play, losing a pair of games to St. Cloud State. Friday's game is at Mariucci and Saturday's game is in Mankato at the Verizon Wireless Center.

-Story by Minnesota Communications Student Intern Josh Brennock

Philip Nelson Shines In Home Debut

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By Michael Molde
GopherSports.com


Minnesota true freshman quarterback Philip Nelson found his rhythm midway through the first quarter of Saturday's 44-28 win over Purdue. By halftime, the signal-caller making just his second career start and first at home may have had Purdue defenders looking spooked.

The Gophers fell behind 7-0 after the Boilermakers drove for a touchdown on their opening drive. On the ensuing possession, Minnesota answered with its first touchdown of the afternoon on a 34-yard pass from Nelson to redshirt junior wide receiver Derrick Engel with 6:06 left in the first quarter.

After a quick three-and-out by Purdue, Nelson was at it again, leading Minnesota on a five-play, 64-yard drive that took just over two minutes and was capped by a four-yard run by Rodrick Williams Jr. for the freshman running back's first career TD.

Just 2:37 later, Minnesota got the ball back again after another outstanding defensive effort. As the game moved into the second quarter, Nelson wasted no time stretching the Gophers' lead to 21-7, as he lofted a perfect 38-yard TD pass along the home sideline to junior wide receiver A.J. Barker to cap a three-play, 60-yard drive that took just 55 seconds.

With the TCF Bank Stadium crowd buzzing, Nelson gave the fans more to appreciate. This time, it took just two plays and 42 seconds for Minnesota to push its advantage to 28-7, as Nelson once again found Barker for a touchdown. Nelson's 63-yard pass play increased his totals at the time to 12-of-13 for 226 yards and three TDs - with 10:34 remaining in the half!

Nelson wrapped up the first half having led the Gophers to a 34-7 lead by completing 15-of-17 passes for 246 yards and the three touchdowns. In the second half, with Minnesota quickly getting a field goal and a defensive touchdown to extend the lead to 44-7, the Gophers utilized their running game to eat up time on the clock. As a result, Nelson threw just five incomplete passes after the break, but the game was well in hand.

Nelson credited his first-half barrage to the team's study of Purdue game film.

"In our preparation coming into this one, we noticed that Purdue's corners liked to bite on some short game stuff," Nelson said. "We put in some double routes and caught them jumping early."

Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill was among those impressed with Nelson's performance.

"He took step one last week, and he took another step here at home. I thought he played outstanding. We were able to move the chains and score touchdowns, and he was accurate on the deep ball. We actually dropped a couple, which was unfortunate or he would have had an even bigger day."

"There was good timing and, again, when your quarterback doesn't turn over the football, moves the chains, and puts points on the board, and he's a freshman, that's a good sign for the future."

Carter: "All I saw was daylight."

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Even on a day when Minnesota's true freshman quarterback made an impressive home debut, senior Michael Carter still garnered a lot of attention. The Golden Gopher cornerback tied a school record with six pass breakups and returned an interception for a touchdown in the Gophers' 44-28 win over Purdue.

Carter looked good early in the game, but the bulk of his highlights came during a single series in the third quarter. During Purdue's first drive of the half, Carter broke up a Caleb TerBush pass intended for Gary Bush on second down. After the Boilermakers ran for first down on the next play, Carter again disrupted a passing play to Bush. On the very next play, he ran in from the side to swat down yet another one.
Go Gophers! Michael Carter
Go Gophers!
Carter starred for the Gophers on defense.
Go Gophers!

As if he was tired of simply knocking down the ball, Carter intercepted the next pass and ran it 43 yards down the left side for a touchdown in front of a cheering student section. It was the first "pick-six" for Minnesota since Traye Simmons had one against Northwestern in 2008. It was also Carter's first career touchdown.

"I saw the fans," Carter said. "I just ran that way. All I saw was daylight and the fans cheering."

His total of six pass breakups tied Michael Lehan's single-game record, set against Michigan State in 2001. Carter nearly doubled his season total, which sits at 13 after today.

Head coach Jerry Kill has lauded Carter for the improvements he has made over the past year. The influence of Carter's cousin, former Gopher All-American and Jim Thorpe Award recipient Tyrone Carter, has played a role in his development. Tyrone has spent a lot of time around the Gopher program, particularly his cousin Michael, this season.

"I am more mature," Michael Carter said of the difference between last year and this year. "I am not just thinking about football. I am thinking more about school and football. This year I am just more focused."

Carter's improvement has been noticeable throughout his senior season, no more so than today.

"I have coached 30 years and I don't know if I have ever seen a corner have things go like that," Kill said. "They kept throwing over there and the third time he jumped it and made a big play. I was happy for Michael. He has been through a lot and I am happy for his success."

The Journey: MarQueis Gray

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Go Gophers! MarQueis Gray
Go Gophers!
MarQueis Gray has rushed, cuaght and passed for touchdowns during his Minnesota career.
Go Gophers!
By Justine Buerkle

On a Golden Gopher football game day, it would be tough to find a section of TCF Bank Stadium without fans wearing No. 5 jerseys for MarQueis Gray.

"It's like I'm a fan out there watching when he plays, to see what he's going to do next," wide receiver and fellow senior Brandon Green said.

Gray has excited teammates and fans alike with his playmaking ability. Throughout his Gopher career, his coaches have found him too talented to keep off the field. But the road Gray travels has taken many twists and turns. At first positional depth, and now injuries, have made it more difficult for him to stay in the game. His career has been a long journey, and the route is changing constantly.

The future looked bright when Gray enrolled at Minnesota in 2008 as one of the nation's top-ranked dual-threat quarterback prospects out of Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis. Then an early obstacle appeared in his path. After an entire summer of workouts on campus, Gray found out that the NCAA was questioning his ACT score and he would need to take it again to become eligible. This news hurt, but he did not let it keep him down for long. It was still his goal to wear the Maroon and Gold on the gridiron.

"I fell in love with the school, the stadium, the people. ...I still had in my mind that this was my home," he said. "I felt like this was where my heart was."

Gray moved back to Indianapolis during the fall, got a job, studied to retake the ACT, and worked out with his old high school team. He enrolled at Minnesota again in January 2009 and re-joined the football team.

More challenges awaited him. Starting quarterback Adam Weber had two years of eligibility left when Gray arrived. Still, then-coach Tim Brewster felt that Gray had too much talent to keep on the bench.

So Gray took another detour--a more pleasant one this time that allowed him to stay in the action. For his first two seasons, Gray spent more time at wide receiver than his primary position.

"I have older brothers who played receiver and corner, so when we were in the backyard, I got to switch around," he said. "But I never thought I'd play receiver in an actual college game or any type of game. Either way, I got a chance to be on the field, and I was happy with it."

Gray had success as a receiver, starting in seven games and hauling in 42 catches, including five touchdowns, as a sophomore. He had chances to take a few snaps, too.

Gray's time to take over the huddle finally came in 2011. Due to Minnesota's coaching change, this was no ordinary transition. Jerry Kill's staff and the Gopher players had to get used to each other and implement a new system. But the new head coach already knew enough about Gray to feel good about his future as the starter.

"We've had a lot of confidence in him from the day I walked in the door," Kill said. "He's accepted coaching, he's absorbed information, and he's done what we've asked him to do."

Seeing his name at the top of the quarterback depth chart validated Gray's dedication and decision to stick with Minnesota.

"It was something I worked for since I'd been here," he said. "To actually get that shot was an eye opener and it kept me hungry to not give up that spot."

For Gray, regaining his normal throwing motion was the most difficult part of transitioning back from wide receiver. The quarterback part of his mind--wanting to lead and to know what everyone else on the field is doing--had never switched off.

It still was not easy street for Gray. He had to learn a new offense for the third time in his career, and he was now the signal caller on a full-time basis.

Gray grew into the role of starting quarterback as his junior season progressed. As he became more comfortable, he put together some impressive performances. He set the school's single-season (966) and single-game (174) records for rushing yards by a quarterback. He threw for a career-best 295 yards and three touchdown passes at Michigan State in November.

After last season, Gray could say that, during his career, he had posted 100-yard games in all three offensive categories: receiving, rushing, and passing.

"It'd be even better if I got to do all that in one game," Gray said. "That's a good stat to have, but the only thing that really matters is wins and losses. This year I'm trying to improve in the winning category."

Entering his senior season in 2012, Gray's path looked straighter than ever before. For the first time in his four years, he did not have to learn a whole new offense, and he now had a year as the starting quarterback under his belt.

Because he wanted to improve in the winning category, Gray knew he could not set the cruise control for the final leg of his college football journey. In addition to working on the technical aspects of the game, he also improved his vocal leadership.

"I'm not usually a guy to do much speaking or trying to hype up the guys," Gray said. "But I took that role on this summer once spring ball started. It's been a good job for me so far."

His goofy personality has always helped teammates feel welcome. Sophomore Marcus Jones said that Gray helped make his transition to college easier last year.

"He does a great job helping the freshmen, joking around with them, making sure they're comfortable here at the university and making sure they want to be here," Jones said.

Gray still keeps a positive, loose vibe on the sidelines, but he has also learned how to take charge and how to talk his teammates through game situations. One of his roles as a senior leader is to help ready the younger quarterbacks for when their time comes.

Unfortunately for Gray, a nagging injury has necessitated a youth takeover already. An ankle sprain forced him out of the Gophers' win against Western Michigan. Sophomore Max Shortell stepped in during the second quarter and led Minnesota to victory, while Gray watched on crutches from the sidelines.

Gray returned to the field a few games later, coming off the bench against Northwestern. He caught one pass, threw several of his own, and ran for a 25-yard touchdown before reinjuring his ankle. Gray was back again at Wisconsin, but played only at receiver.

"It's painful not being out there, not being 100 percent like I was in the first game," he said. "But that's the game of football. I have to keep doing my rehab and hopefully continue to get better."

Meanwhile, Kill's decision to start Philip Nelson against Wisconsin seems to have determined Gray's role for the rest of the year. Now that the opportunity to redshirt Nelson is gone, the true freshman will likely start the remaining games. Gray may still take some snaps, but wide receiver will once again be his main focus. Despite his love for the quarterback position, this change could be a blessing in disguise. The Gopher receiving corps has been plagued by injuries lately. Plus, many believe that playing receiver gives Gray the best shot at playing professionally.

"Anywhere I have a chance to play NFL games, that's the thing I'm going to do," he said. "I have a family to look after, and if I'm a receiver at the next level, then that's what I'm going to play."

His aforementioned family has been a constant through all the ups and downs on the gridiron. Gray's fiancée, step-daughter, and 11-month-old twin sons have added another dimension to his life.

"I've grown as a leader, a brother to my teammates, a father to my kids at home, and just overall being a more mature player and a father each year I've been up here," he said.

Even though he is not currently the starting quarterback, Gray can still be that same mature leader. He can still give pointers to Nelson. He can still wow fans with great plays as a receiver.

Gray is on the final leg of his college journey. Future stops, possibly including the NFL, have yet to be determined. Wherever his road takes him from here, Gray will go there knowing that he did whatever his team needed, and that his family and teammates will always have his back.

Instant Analysis: Minnesota 2, U.S. Under-18 Team 2

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Instant analysis of Minnesota's 2-2 overtime tie against the U.S. Under-18 team. 

Christian Horn Gets into the Act

Christian Horn made his first appearance in a Gopher sweater tonight and put his name on the score sheet. He was active from the very start. On his first shift, Christian found the puck in the low-slot area and sent the shot just wide of U.S. Under-18 goaltender Thatcher Demko. In the second period, Horn got the lone assist on Tom Serratore's power-play goal, which got the Gophers on the board for the first time in the game. Horn has been heralded for his play-making ability and he made a good pass to find Serratore for the goal.

Response From the Slow Start

The Gophers trailed 2-0 heading into the second period. From there, they responded well in the middle frame as the increased the physical play. They were helped when Mike McCarron hit Zach Budish from behind. McCarron received a five-minute major and a game misconduct. The Gophers were able to convert on the power play when Christian Horn found Tom Serratore open in the slot to fire home the team's first goal. Nick Bjugstad tied the game up later in the period. When the period was all set and done, the Gophers had out shot the U.S. Under-18 team by a 20-5 margin in the period.

Shibrowski's Bounce Back

Mike Shibrowski preformed well tonight. It was his first appearance since being pulled in Houghton, Mich. a week ago. After giving up two goals in the first period, Mike played well in a tight game. The U.S. Under-18 team had good chances throughout the game. In a close game where one bounce can be the difference in the game, Shibrowski dealt with a lot of pucks that came in at odd speeds and at weird angles. He was matched by U.S. Under-18 goaltender Thatcher Demko, who made 39 saves.

Gophers Host Canisius on Saturday

The Gophers will return to NCAA action on Sunday afternoon at Mariucci Arena against Canisius. The Gophers will again face a top-notch goaltender in Tony Capobianco. In the young season, he has compiled a 1.98 GAA and a .933 SV%. The Golden Griffins have just one win this season, over Alaska Fairbanks, but they have a two close losses against Western Michigan. Canisius also tied Air Force on Thursday night. 

-Written by Minnesota student intern Josh Brennock

When the Gophers take the field prior to a home game they traditionally have players lead the team out onto the field while carrying an American flag and a flag representing the University of Minnesota.

This Saturday, Minnesota will shift from protocol, as 1st Lt. Trey Van Wyhe of the United States Army (story here), will lead the team out onto the field carrying the American flag that he sent to coach Jerry Kill as a gift earlier this year. The flag has flown in Afghanistan where Van Wyhe, who is a lifelong Gopher fan from Hills., Minn., was recently deployed as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Van Wyhe, who is representing the 2nd Battalion 35th Infantry Regiment, "Cacti", 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, and his platoon carried the flag with them when they conducted air assault missions as a good luck charm.

Upon receiving the gift, coach Kill told Van Wyhe via email that if he was ever in town for a football game that he would be honored to have him lead the Gophers onto the field. Van Wyhe, who is stationed in Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, is only in town for this weekend and he is preparing for another deployment to Afghanistan next year.

What They're Saying - October 26

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Story about Kill at SIU: "Was probably one of the few guys in the nation that would have accepted the SIU job." (The Southern)

Depth chart, injury report for Saturday's game (GopherSports)

Know Thy Opponent: Purdue (GopherSports)

Kill, Limegrover were on KFAN yesterday (KFAN)

Two teams enter, one leaves with a win (The Exponent and FSN)

Big TE Plsek likes to hit (Star Tribune)

Graduation rates continue to rise (KARE)

Gray back at receiver (Minnesota Daily)

Minnesota moving forward with frosh QB (AP)

Mike Rallis is shaving his head for to raise funds for pediatric cancer research. Support him here and help him reach his goal (St. Baldrick's)

Derrick Engel Q&A (GopherSports)

Football banquet set for Nov. 25 (GopherSports)

Know Thy Opponent: Purdue

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Minnesota welcomes Purdue to TCF Bank Stadium for a Saturday afternoon game this weekend. We chatted with Mike Carmin who covers the Boilermakers for the Lafayette Journal and Courier to learn about Purdue. You can follow Mike on Twitter @carminjc.

GopherSports: Can you give us a brief scouting report on Purdue? They entered the season with a lot of hype, but have been handed some close defeats this year by Notre Dame and Ohio State. What is the team's mindset entering the game at Minnesota?

Mike Carmin: I think after last week's game at Ohio State it is changing a little bit. It is heading upward. That game went to overtime and was a game that they felt they should have won. But their performance was a lot better than against Michigan and Wisconsin where they were beaten soundly at home. So it was a step in the right direction. The key now for them is to continue to move forward. They are also getting into the part of the schedule that is not as difficult as it was the first three games, so they to take advantage of these last five games and get themselves in a situation where they can get back to another bowl game.

After the Ohio State game you would think things were coming around, but coming into this year there was a lot expected from Purdue. They thought with the situation in the Leaders Division that they had a shot to get to Indianapolis and play in the Big Ten title game. That does not look like it is going to be the case unless there is a monumental collapse by Wisconsin. And Purdue would have to win out. I feel like Minnesota and Purdue both have a similar approach in that they both feel like they can win this game. They both feel like they need to win this game to continue on the paths that they have set out

GS: Purdue like Minnesota has played three quarterbacks this season. Who can we expect to see on Saturday?

MC: Caleb TerBush is going to start and it should be similar to last week at Ohio State where he took 99.9 percent of the snaps. They did put Rob Henry back there a couple of times to take a couple of snaps in a pseudo-wildcat situation, but TerBush played almost the entire game. I expect him to take the majority of the snaps unless there is an injury or the game gets out of hand one way or another. Purdue had been rotating quarterbacks most of the year. Robert Marve got hurt against Notre Dame. He is playing on a torn ACL, which is his third one. He looked good one game and then did not look good one game, but I think they just decided to go with TerBush for now.

GS: Coach Kill talked this week about how good the Purdue defensive front is. Can you talk about them? Their plan has to be to try and rattle freshman quarterback Philip Nelson, right?

MC: I would be surprised if that is not their plan. If you watched Purdue's defensive front against Michigan and Wisconsin you would be like, "What is all the hype about?" because Purdue gave up 467 yards on the ground to Wisconsin. But they kind of redeemed themselves last week by keeping Braxton Miller in check. Carlos Hyde had a couple of big gains, but not like Montee Ball and Denard Robinson had in the two weeks before. They feel like that is their strength and they have not wavered from that. I believe that is the strength of their defense. They just need them to play better and maybe last week straightened that out. I would anticipate that they will do everything they can to get pressure on the freshman quarterback. Whether they can or not remains to be seen. The two defensive tackles are for real in Kawann Short and Bruce Gaston. They are solid, solid players. Ryan Russell at defensive end has come a long way and continues to get better so they have a pretty good defensive front.

GS: Who is an under-the-radar player Minnesota fans should pay attention to on Saturday?

MC: Safety Landon Feichter. I guess the bad news is that he has led the team in tackles the last two weeks and you never want your safeties to lead your team in tackles because you are not getting production from up front. He is a walk-on and still does not have a scholarship, but he has come up with some plays. He has four interceptions this year and returned one for a touchdown. He seems to be in the mix of things and is making plays on defense and disrupting things. They would like for him to not lead the team in tackles, but the plus side is that he is active and he is involved.

GS: What is the key to Purdue winning this game?

MC: I think they really need to establish a running game. If you look at the numbers Minnesota is one of the top pass defense teams in the country. You can look at that in two ways. Is their secondary strong and are they getting pressure on the quarterback and teams are not able to throw effectively? Or are teams choosing to run against them and having success running against them? But based on the numbers, Purdue is going to have to establish a running game to be successful against Minnesota.

Then they will also have to rattle the freshman quarterback. That has to be the plan. If you can get him out of rhythm, and I am not sure he has played long enough to know what his rhythm is yet. But if they can disrupt him a little bit, which will then disrupt their offense then I think Purdue should be in good shape.

GS: You talked about establishing the run. Can Gopher fans expect to see Akeem Shavers carrying the ball or who will get a lot of reps?

MC: I think Akeem Shavers will start. I think Ralph Bolden will also play. Bolden is coming off his third ACL surgery. He played two weeks ago against Wisconsin and he got more snaps last week. He was their leading rusher last year and was their leading rusher in 2009. I expect him to be more involved in the game plan during these last five games. Shavers will start, but I would expect to see Shavers and Bolden in the backfield a lot on Saturday.

GS: Mike, thanks for your time. We will see you on Saturday.

Gophers Participate in Big Ten Media Day

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Borton's Media Day Transcript Get Acrobat Reader | Photo Gallery

Members of the University of Minnesota women's basketball team invaded Chicago for the annual Big Ten Media Day Thursday, with head coach Pam Borton, sophomore Rachel Banham and senior Katie Loberg taking part in the day's activities.

Borton began the event for the Gophers with a press conference early in the morning, where she discussed the excitement surrounding the upcoming 2012-13 season. The head coach also talked about the immediate impact Minnesota's newcomers will have on the team, the leadership of the team as a whole and the return of Banham following the health issues she had been dealing with since July.

Go Gophers! B1G Media Day
Go Gophers!

Go Gophers!

From there, Borton made her way downstairs for an interview with the Big Ten Network, where, she talked about the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the effect it had on her life and how it has impacted women's athletics as a whole, on top of previewing the season.

Banham and Loberg then joined Borton for the one-on-one roundtable, where media members have the opportunity to talk personally with members of all of the Big Ten women's and men's basketball players and coaches.

Taking a break from one-on-one interviews, Banham and Loberg participated in a photoshoot for BTN, before sitting down with the league network for a video interview.

After returning to the International Ballroom to finish their one-on-one interviews, the Gophers called it a day and headed back to Minneapolis! 

    

Game 8 Depth Chart, Injury Report

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OFFENSE
Left Tackle
74 - Marek Lenkiewicz    6-5    281    R-So.    Tinley Park, Ill. (Victor J. Andrew)
53 - Tommy Olson    6-4    298    So.     Mahtomedi, Minn. (Mahtomedi)
Left Guard
52 - Zac Epping    6-2    306    R-So.     Kenosha, Wis. (Tremper)
73 - Joe Bjorklund    6-5    293    R-Fr.     Rosemount, Minn. (Rosemount)
Center
63 - Jon Christenson    6-4    288    R-Fr.     Minnetonka, Minn. (Minnetonka)
OR
62 - Zach Mottla    6-2    287    R-Jr.     Edina, Minn. (Cretin-Derham Hall)
Right Guard
64 - Caleb Bak    6-3    294    R-So.     Columbia Heights, Minn. (Concordia Academy)
75 - Ernie Heifort     6-5    273    R-Fr.     Bemidji, Minn. (Bemidji)
Right Tackle
65 - Josh Campion    6-5    309    R-Fr.     Fergus Falls, Minn. (Fork Union Military Academy)
77 - Foster Bush    6-5    303    R-Fr.     Menasha, Wis. (Menasha HS)
Quarterback
9 - Philip Nelson    6-2    222    Fr.     Mankato, Minn. (West)
11 - Max Shortell     6-6    237    So.     Shawnee Mission, Kan. (Bishop Miege)
Tailback
20 - Donnell Kirkwood    5-10    219    R-So.     Delray Beach, Fla. (Atlantic)
35 - Rodrick Williams Jr.     5-11    228    Fr.    Lewisville, Texas (Lewisville)
H-Back/Fullback
81 - John Rabe    6-4    258    Sr.     Iowa Falls, Iowa (Ellsworth CC)
30 - Mike Henry    6-1    238    R-Jr.     Mahtomedi, Minn. (Mahtomedi)
Y
83 - Drew Goodger    6-5    255    So.     Shawnee Mission, Kan. (Northwest)
47 - Alex Bisch    6-6    249    R-So.     Northfield, Minn. (Northfield)
Z
14 - Isaac Fruechte     6-3    205    So.     Caledonia, Minn. (Rochester CTC)
OR
82 - A.J. Barker    6-1    191    R-Jr.     St. Paul, Minn. (De La Salle)
1 - Brandon Green    6-0    189    R-Sr.     Chicago, Ill. (Robeson)
X
5 - MarQueis Gray    6-5    250    Sr.    Indianapolis, Ind. (Ben Davis)
80 - Devin Crawford-Tufts    6-2    194    So.     Edina, Minn. (Edina)
OR
12 - Andre McDonald    6-2    200    Fr.     Minnetonka, Minn. (Hopkins)
H
15 - Marcus Jones    5-8    172    So.     Wake Forest, N.C. (Wake Forest-Rolesville)
18 - Derrick Engel    6-2    182    R-Jr.     Chaska, Minn. (Winona State)

DEFENSE
End
98 - Michael Amaefula    6-2    242    So.    Arlington, Texas (Bowie)
93 - Ben Perry    6-5    243    R-So.    Southlake, Texas (Carroll)
Tackle
46 - Cameron Botticelli    6-5    284    R-So.    Milwaukee, Wis. (Marquette University HS)
92 - Roland Johnson    6-1    295    Jr.    Camden, S.C. (Butler County CC)
Nose
99 - Ra'Shede Hageman    6-6    301    R-Jr.    Minneapolis, Minn. (Washburn)
97 - Scott Ekpe    6-4    286    Fr.    Lewisville, Texas (Lewisville)
End
95 - D.L. Wilhite    6-3    244    Sr.    Lexington, Ky. (Bryan Station)
55 - Theiren Cockran    6-6    237    R-Fr.    Homestead, Fla. (Homestead)
Strongside Linebacker
57 - Aaron Hill    6-2    228    R-Jr.    St. Charles, Mo. (Lutheran)
OR
32 - Lamonte Edwards    6-2    212    R-So.    Woodbury, Minn. (Woodbury)
8 - Spencer Reeves    6-2    234    Sr.    Dallas, Texas (Skyline)
Middle Linebacker
26 - Mike Rallis    6-2    245    R-Sr.    Edina, Minn. (Edina)
1 - Brendan Beal    6-3    249    R-Jr.    Bangor, Pa. (Florida)
Weakside Linebacker
4 - Keanon Cooper    6-0    220    R-Sr.    Dallas, Texas (Skyline)
9 - James Manuel     6-2    210    Jr.    Indianapolis, Ind. (Warren Central)
Cornerback
2 - Troy Stoudermire    5-10    195    Sr.    Dallas, Texas (Skyline)
22 - Jeremy Baltazar    6-0    196    Jr.    Corona, Calif. (Blinn College)
Safety
13 - Derrick Wells    6-0    198    So.    Lehigh Acres, Fla. (Lehigh)
7 - Damarius Travis    6-2    205    Fr.     Pensacola, Fla. (Pensacola)
Safety
27 - Cedric Thompson    5-10    199    So.    Calipatria, Calif. (Calipatria)
OR
21 - Brock Vereen    6-0    201    Jr.    Valencia, Calif. (Valencia)
6 - Grayson Levine    5-11    202    So.    Eden Prairie, Minn. (Eden Prairie)
Cornerback
23 - Michael Carter    5-11    189    Sr.    Pompano Beach, Fla. (Ely)
3 - Martez Shabazz     5-11    168    Jr.    DeSoto, Texas (Trinity Valley CC)

SPECIAL TEAMS
Kicker
39 - Jordan Wettstein    5-11    180    Sr.    De Pere, Wis. (De Pere)
36 - Chris Hawthorne    6-6    198    Jr.    Raleigh, N.C. (North Carolina State)
Punter
38 - Christian Eldred    6-3    190    So.    Melbourne, Australia (Monash University)
Long Snapper
48 - Jake Filkins    6-2    236    Jr.    Prescott, Wis. (Prescott)
96 - Dave Ramlet    6-2    237    R-So.    Appleton, Wis. (Xavier)
Holder
38 - David Schwerman    6-0    195    Sr.    Kettle Moraine, Wis. (Kettle Moraine)
Kick Returner
2 - Troy Stoudermire    5-10    195    Sr.    Dallas, Texas (Skyline)
15 - Marcus Jones    5-8    172    So.    Wake Forest, N.C. (Wake Forest-Rolesville)
4 - KJ Maye    5-10    190    Fr.    Mobile, Ala. (Murphy)
Punt Returner
82 - A.J. Barker    6-1    191    R-Jr.    St. Paul, Minn. (De La Salle)

INJURY REPORT 
Roland Johnson, Questionable
Derrick Wells, Questionable
Ed Olson, Out
Jamel Harbison, Out for the 2012 season


What They're Saying - October 25

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Under the Helmet with Derrick Engel (GopherSports)

Nelson era continues with home start (Minnesota Daily)

Everything you need to know about Saturday's game (GopherSports)

Still time to support Gophers before they shave their heads (GopherSports)

Two teams looks for a win (Fort Wayne Journal)

Saturday is a big game (1500 ESPN)

Moving to WR might have a long-term benefit for Gray (Pioneer Press)

Register now for Nov. 1 Buttonhook Social (GopherSports)

Green has battled injuries, looking to end career on high note (Star Tribune)

Back to the future for Gray (Star Tribune)

Follow Golden Gopher Football:    

Under The Helmet with Derrick Engel

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Go Gophers! Derrick Engel
Go Gophers!
Derrick Engel has seven catches this year for 136 yards.
Go Gophers!
Redshirt junior wide receiver Derrick Engel has seven catches this year for 136 yards. His 19.4 yards per catch average leads the team. Engel has long wanted to be a Gopher, but his route to wearing the Maroon and Gold took some twists and turns before he ended up at Minnesota. We caught up with the son of two former collegiate All-Americans to learn a little bit more about him.

GopherSports: You took a pretty interesting route to become a Gopher. Can you tell us about it?

Derrick Engel: I was offered a preferred walk-on spot here out of high school, but I got wait-listed. I really wanted to come here and walk-on, but I was also recruited at numerous division two schools so I ended up getting a scholarship to Winona State. I really liked the school there and the coaches. I did not get accepted to Minnesota right away, so I decided to take the scholarship on signing day. I got a lot of playing time in my two years there and do not regret that at all. With coach Kill coming in there was an opportunity to come to Minnesota. The timing was right and I have done well here. I have a 3.5 GPA, so it has been a good decision both athletically and academically.

GS: You have seen significant playing time this year. Is that what you expected?

DE: I do not know if I expected it, but that has been my goal the entire time. I did not have any doubts in my mind that I could get to that point, but I knew I had to work really hard and prove to the coaches every day that I belong here and can play here. I know nothing is given to me and I have to earn everything I get.

GS: Tell us about your first catch as a Gopher. It was a 33-yard gain and came in the season-opener at UNLV.

DE: At the moment it was definitely a relief just to make the catch and know that I did not let my teammates down on that play. As far as that play, it was called during a TV timeout so I knew the play for about three minutes and knew I would probably get the ball. It ended up working out well for me and I made the catch. I have built off that and am trying to keep getting better every day.

GS: Do you remember how many fans you played in front of at Winona?

DE: I think the most at our home field at Winona was 6,000. In high school I played in front of more people than that, so it is quite a difference this year. You get out there and you do not really see anything. You just see the field and it is normal football. You can definitely feel the intensity from the crowd and hear the noise, but when you are out there you are focused and block everything out except for the game.

GS: What do you like to do off the field?

DE: I am definitely into all sports. I like basketball, football, hockey and baseball. I played basketball in high school up until my junior year and ended up quitting so I could focus on football. I was trying to put on some more weight for college. I did track one year and did not really like it, but I was fast. I have a long stride, so people do not really see me until I go running by them.

GS: How much weight have you put on from high school until now?

DE: My junior year in high school I weighed 149 pounds and then I weighed 160 pounds my senior year. In college I weighed 164 pounds in my freshman year and 168 pounds as a sophomore. Last year, when I got here I weighed 176 pounds and now I am about 184 pounds. I have gotten bigger every year.

GS: You live with A.J. Barker. You two have a similar story. What is it like living with him?

DE: We talk about everything and are pretty close. I think we play well together on the field as well because we know one another so well.

GS: Is there competition between the two of you off the field? There any trash talking going on?

DE: There is competition every day, but not necessarily trash talking. He is a pretty confident guy. I have to try to beat him at stuff to make sure he knows he is not the best at everything.

GS: You guys play basketball, who is winning that game?

DE: He would beat me in basketball without a doubt. He has that jump shot, but I think I would beat him in track especially at a longer distance. I would pull away at the end.

GS: We hear you are pretty big video game player. What is your favorite game?

DE: I like all the EA games, especially NBA 2k13. I am pretty average, but can compete with everyone on the team. I don't get blown out by anyone. I have heard Brandon Green is pretty good, but have never played him. I should probably give him a matchup and see how good he is.

GS: So where does all your athleticism come from?  

DE: Both my parents went to Augsburg and were All-Americans. They are both in the Augsburg Hall of Fame. My dad was a basketball player and my mom ran hurdles. I kind of meshed the two together and got both the athleticism and the speed from both.

GS: Tell us about your brother and sister.

DE: I have a sister Kaylee and a brother Sean. Kaylee is a senior in high school. She does really well in school and is still deciding on her college choices. Sean is in ninth grade and looks like he might be a pretty good athlete. He has grown probably close to a foot in the last year and is now taller than me. He plays receiver and safety in football and plays basketball too.

GS: Might be nice for him to have a college receiver as an older brother. You help him out?

DE: Definitely. I have shown him a lot of things that kids his age have no idea about. He is using them well.

Gophers Meet the Media: U.S. Under-18/Canisius

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The No. 2 Minnesota men's hockey program met with the media Wednesday in anticipation of the upcoming weekend. The Gophers host the U.S. Under-18 team in exhibition action on Friday at 7 p.m. before taking on Canisius of the Atlantic Hockey Association in nonconference action on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Lucia Milestone

With his 600th career victory now behind him, head coach Don Lucia talk about the rewarding parts of the journey. 

"I think more than anything else you go down memory lane. I have been fortunate to walk into good situations. I had a chance to experience it all at pretty much every level, you get the great wins and the devastating losses." 

The best part of the achievement?

"Just hearing from my former plays makes it the most enjoyable."

Lucia on his early days of coaching: "Not many coaches had to coach the first half of practice take off their skates and go drive the zamboni before getting your skates back on to run the second half of practice."

Following media availability, Lucia was presented with a gift from his high school alma mater (Grand Rapids High School) in honor of his 600th win and visited with a group of representatives from the school. 

Boyd on the USNDTP

Travis Boyd, who spent two years with the U.S. National Developmental Team Program prior to joining the Gophers, provided insight into what the program is really about.

"It is a really special program. They do a fantastic job of developing kids to young men and really good hockey players. The one thing the USA program has, which no where else has, is the international competition. That is one of the best memories I have ever had. To go overseas and represent your country in terms of hockey is an unforgettable moment for me."

-Article written by Minnesota student intern Josh Brennock

Buttonhook Social Scheduled For Nov. 1

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Register for the Nov. 1 Buttonhook Social

The Goal Line Club, which is the official booster club of Minnesota Golden Gopher Football, will be hosting a Buttonhook Social from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 1, in the Indoor Club Room at TCF Bank Stadium.

The two-hour social event will be highlighted by a visit and speech from Coach Kill, who will preview the Michigan game and share insight about the current state of the team. Former Gophers are also scheduled to attend the emceed event, which will also feature heavy appetizers and a cash bar.

Those wishing to attend can register here. The cost for attending is free for Goal Line Club Gold members and $20 for Maroon members. The fee for non-members to attend is $25.

Attendees may enter TCF Bank Stadium through the Benton County doors. Parking is available next to TCF Bank Stadium in the Maroon Lot or in the Gopher Lot at regular rates.

Names of registered attendees will be placed on a guest list when you register online. Tickets will not be distributed for the event.

Men's Hockey Single-Game Tickets on Sale Now

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Go Gophers! NAME OF PICTURE
Go Gophers!
Mariucci Arena
Go Gophers!
Single-game tickets for the rest of the 2012-13 Minnesota men's hockey season are now on sale through the Gophers ticket office. 

With 18 home games remaining in the regular season, there are still plenty of opportunities to see the defending MacNaughton Cup champions in action live as Minnesota continues its final campaign in the WCHA. 

Tickets may be purchased by visiting MyGopherSports.com or by calling the Gophers ticket office at 1-800-U-Gopher. 

What They're Saying - October 24

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Gophers move forward with freshman (AP)

Kill previews Purdue game (GopherSports)

Five things you need to know about Purdue at Minnesota (GopherSports)

Rallis among 60 Gophers who will be shaving their heads (Star Tribune)

Donate to support Gopher football as players shave heads for charity (St. Baldrick's)

Hair today, gone tomorrow (Minnesota Daily)

Nelson's home debut adds spice to Saturday's contest (Pioneer Press)

U football did not appeal to Nelson until Kill was hired (Pioneer Press)


Bowl is still the goal (Star Tribune)

Nelson provides hope this year and beyond (FBT)

Gophers move forward with Nelson at QB, Gray at WR (ESPN.com)

Image No. 4 features Paul Giel after a long run (FoxNews)

Follow Gophers Live at Big Ten Media Day

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The University of Minnesota women's basketball team will hit the floor for the first time this season in an exhibition contest vs. Concordia St. Paul in just one short week, but before hitting the hardwood, the Gophers will take part in the annul Big Ten Media Day in Chicago on Thursday, Oct. 25.

The Gophers will be represented in Chicago by head coach Pam Borton, sophomore guard Rachel Banham and senior forward Katie Loberg. Fans can follow tidbits from the trio's experience throughout the day via the Minnesota Women's Basketball twitter feed (@GophersWBB).

Gopher women's coach Pam Borton will speak in a press conference from 8:50 - 9:00 a.m. CT, while men's coach Tubby Smith will speak from 9:00-9:10 a.m. CT. Transcripts of both press conferences, and possibly video highlights, will be available on www.gophersports.com later on Thursday.

Below is a press release courtesy of the Big Ten Conference.

Park Ridge, Ill. - Big Ten basketball fans will have several ways to follow their favorite teams, players and coaches as they participate in Big Ten Basketball Media Day on Thursday, Oct. 25.

For the second-consecutive year, all 24 men's and women's coaches press conferences will be streamed live on BTN.com. Live streaming begins at 8 a.m. CT/9 a.m. ET and is available for free through the Big Ten Digital Network. Visit http://video.btn.com for more information.

Fans can also follow @B1GMBBall and @B1GWBBall on Twitter throughout the day for highlights of the event and are encouraged to use the hash tag #B1GMD to join the conversation.

Transcripts of each coach's press conference will be posted onwww.bigten.org later that day.

Big Ten Announces Coverage for Basketball Media Day

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Go Gophers! Pam Borton
Go Gophers!
Go Gophers!

Park Ridge, Ill. - Big Ten basketball fans will have several ways to follow their favorite teams, players and coaches as they participate in Big Ten Basketball Media Day on Thursday, Oct. 25.

For the second-consecutive year, all 24 men's and women's coaches press conferences will be streamed live on BTN.com. Live streaming begins at 8 a.m. CT/9 a.m. ET and is available for free through the Big Ten Digital Network. Visit http://video.btn.com for more information.

Fans can also follow @B1GMBBall and @B1GWBBall on Twitter throughout the day for highlights of the event and are encouraged to use the hash tag #B1GMD to join the conversation.

Transcripts of each coach's press conference will be posted onwww.bigten.org later that day.

-Press release courtesy of the Big Ten Conference

Kill Previews Saturday's Game Against Purdue

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Coach Kill met with the media today to preview this weekend's game against Purdue. You can read a few of the highlights from his press conference below. You can also read a transcript of his entire press conference here.

On Purdue...

"Coach said at the beginning of the year this is going to be a very, very good football team, his best football team. I don't think he's telling anybody not the truth, that's for sure.
   
I think everybody that watched the game at Ohio State, you just kind of go, I mean, they had that game, toe to toe to Notre Dame. They're a very good football team.

"I think up front, their front four is tremendous. Their two defensive tackles are guys that are going to be drafted. I think they're very, very good up front in the defensive line. They're very athletic in the secondary. They're very skillful. We found that out a year ago. We played them two years ago at Northern Illinois. All those kids were young then, and now they've all grown up.

We're both in similar situations. We both need a win."

On if Philip Nelson will continue to play quarterback...
"We wouldn't pull a redshirt off a youngster if we weren't going to play him."

On the process of pulling the redshirt off Nelson...

"You don't want to have to be with the situation (like we had with) Max coming out of the game at Northwestern (with an injury), and you don't want to have to play KJ Maye for five games. That's not fair to the senior kids that want to win right now and try to get the bowl game, all those things." 

On the play of Nelson last Saturday...
"He got himself out of some very difficult plays on Saturday and made some plays with his feet and his arm. I think, again, we're going to continue to move our program forward. I think him having the opportunity to play will help us be a better football team a year from now."

On his defense against the Wisconsin running game...
"I went back and watched film, no matter what anybody wants to say about the University of Wisconsin, Montee Ball is the real deal. Third down and long, third down and 11, it wasn't anything but Montee Ball knocked three people back and we didn't tackle him.

"Sometimes it wasn't the perfect execution. It was Montee Ball and the other young man, they're just pretty good football players, they really are. They made some cuts and some creases that make you look pretty bad, they really did. So I got to give them some credit, too."

On the state of his team...
"I think we've tried to educate our kids as much as we can, where we're at, what we need to do. It's just like anything else. When things don't go perfect, those kind of things, we're 4-3 right now, we have a huge game against Purdue, we still have some goals that we can reach.
   
"We got some seniors that have been tremendous through this process that have been through a tremendous amount of coaching change, different philosophies, different things. I'm proud of the way they've handled themselves.

"Our goal is to try to get them to a bowl game. That's what we need to do. Our young people know that."

On Minnesota's running game...
"We certainly want to run the ball. My background in coaching is I like running the ball. But right now there's some things that physically we're still struggling with a little bit.  Doesn't mean we can't, but we got to take a look at how."
 
On redshirting other players...
"I think we feel good about where we're at. The kids, we're redshirting over 20 players. This is our first true recruiting class. I think we're redshirting over 20 players and we're playing about eight or nine freshmen and they're all playing quite a bit in different roles."

On injuries...

"The biggest thing that kills you in football is that you have to be able to stay healthy to be successful.  It don't matter if it's in the NFL or college football.  With our deal, yeah, we came out 4 0, but we came out of that thing beat up, then we went right into the Big Ten and have struggled since."

What They're Saying - October 23

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Heads will be shaved, money will be raised. You can donate now! (GopherSports)

Nelson expected to start from here on out (Minnesota Daily)

Kill: "There are some good things going on here." (Star Tribune)

The future is now (Pioneer Press)

Kill made the right move in removing Nelson's redshirt (Star Tribune)

Gray back to wide receiver and he is fine with it (Pioneer Press)

Sandell breaking down the game film from Saturday (1500 ESPN)

Instant Analysis: Minnesota 3, Michigan Tech 2

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Written by Minnesota Student Intern Josh Brennock

Insights from the Gophers' 3-2 win Saturday at Michigan Tech.

Congratulations Coach Lucia
Minnesota head coach Don Lucia won his 600th game tonight as a collegiate head coach. He becomes just the fourth active Division I head coach to reach the milestone, joining Boston College's Jerry York, Boston University's Jack Parker, and Michigan's Red Berenson. The victory is his 321st as the leader of Minnesota. Before coming to Minneapolis, Lucia led Alaska Fairbanks and Colorado College. His first win came with Alaska Fairbanks in 1987. 

Higher Compete Level
Friday night it appeared as if the Gophers were simply going through the motions. They were not sharp with the puck and allowed the Huskies to outwork them along the boards and in front of the net. Tonight was a different story. The defense was more affective in transitioning the puck out of the zone to the forwards, leading to the forwards being able to control the puck more and spend valuable time in the Huskies' zone to create quality scoring opportunities. The Gophers struggled Friday night to create rebound opportunities.

Saturday Success
Minnesota proved once again they are a team to be reckoned with in the WCHA on Saturdays. The Gophers were 13-1 on Saturdays in the WCHA last season. The only blemish was an overtime loss at Denver. On six occasions last season, the Gophers responded by winning Saturday's tilt after a Friday defeat, including a series at Mariucci Arena versus Michigan Tech in December. Tonight, the Gophers once again rebounded from a loss, controlling play and finding a way to win the game late courtesy of Seth Ambroz. 

Awesome Ambroz
Seth Ambroz was the star for the Gophers tonight. He tallied two goals in a game for the first time since his Minnesota debut in 2011 against Sacred Heart. Ambroz posted the first goal of the game through hard-nose effort to get to a juicy rebound left over from a hard drive by Kyle Rau. Seth capped off his night with the game-winning goal. He found himself with space in the high slot to wired home a nice pass from Travis Boyd. Ambroz's standout game adds to the strong work of the third line this season. Third-line contribution could pay huge dividends for the Gophers as the season goes on. The Gophers have the luxury to dress three dynamic lines.

Good Bye Houghton
Minnesota's bus will soon be pulling out of Houghton for the last time. With the Gophers set to leave the WCHA next season, this is the last scheduled trip to Michigan Tech. Many rivalries will be missed when the Gophers join the Big Ten, but this is an underrated one. Tonight was the 173rd time Minnesota defeated the Michigan Tech Huskies in program history. They have more wins against the Huskies than any other institution. The two schools also faced-off in three-straight national championship games back in the 1970's, the Gophers toppled the Huskies in 1974 and 1976 to claim the crown. 

Gophers Participate in Urban Ventures Clinic

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The Golden Gopher women's basketball team participated in an Urban Ventures Clinic for underprivileged youth of South Minneapolis Saturday at the Colin Powell Youth Leadership Center, which was sponsored by the Urban Stars Athletic Club.

The youth had the opportunity to interact with the Minnesota players, before participating in a basketball clinic in which the Gophers served as coaches.

The program centered on the topic of sports and education and how the combination can contribute to building personal strengths and character.

The state-of-the-art Colin Powell Youth Leadership Center was opened in October of 2007 and includes athletic facilities to house various youth sports leagues throughout the year.

As published on the Urban Ventures website, "our mission is to break the cycle of generational poverty in our community: one person, one family at a time."

What They're Saying - October 19

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Jerry Kill responds to an emailer who called him a freak because he has epilepsy (Yahoo!)

Kill: "Do we want to do this the whole time we're here? No." (Star Tribune)

Five thoughts on tomorrow's game (FSN)

Rivalry games stick with you (Star Tribune)

Gophers need to grind to win the Axe (ESPN.com)

Instant Analysis: Michigan Tech 5, Minnesota 3

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Written by Minnesota Student Intern Josh Brennock

Instant analysis from Michigan Tech's 5-3 victory tonight.

Slow Start
Last week at Mariucci Arena, the Gophers come out flying. That did not happen tonight on the road. Last week, Minnesota was the team jumping on opponents early. Their 3-0 and 4-0 leads after the opening period left little doubt of the positive outcomes. Tonight, the Gophers trailed the Huskies 3-1 after the opening frame. The hill proved to be to high to climb as an emotionally-charged Michigan Tech team took it to the Gophers propelled by their own fast start. 

The Response
Minnesota's slow start provided the Gophers with an opportunity to show how they would respond to trailing for the first time this season. The initial response looked promising as Nick Bjugstad found himself wide open in the circle where he cashed in on a great pass from Ben Marshall to cut the Huskies' lead in half. Michigan Tech did not blink however, taking advantage of sloppy marking in the Gophers' zone and Gopher turnovers to chase Minnesota starter Michael Shibrowski and take a 5-2 lead into the break after 40 minutes.

Tech Fired Up
Minnesota head coach Don Lucia knew Michigan Tech posed a threat to the Gophers, and he was right. The John MacInnes Ice Arena was rocking tonight, and the Huskies were ready to go. The crowd provided a great home-ice advantage as the Gopher found out that life on the road is going to be tricky this year. The Huskies feed off the crowd's energy. Michigan Tech forwards aggressively attacked the Gophers defenseman forcing turnovers that led into Huskies' goals. 

Offensive Stall
Offensively, Minnesota struggled to sustain pressure in the attacking zone all night. The chances the Gophers got were mainly one-and-done. Credit Michigan Tech for giving up the body and doing whatever it took to win the physical battles and send the puck out of their zone. Michigan Tech goaltender Phoenix Copley was ready for the challenge of the nation's No. 1 team. He made 28 saves on the night and provided the Huskies with the backbone for their upset victory. 

Positive Ending
The Gophers were finally able to garner significant zone time towards the end of the 60 minutes. A strong shift along the boards forced the Huskies into taking a penalty. The Gophers converted with nice passing. It led to Travis Boyd being open to pot his second goal of the season. Despite pulling goalie Adam Wilcox for a 6-5 advantage, the Gophers were unable to slide another goal past Copley. The pressure and fight they showed in the closing minutes will hopefully lead to good things in Saturday's rematch.

Know Thy Opponent: Wisconsin

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The Gophers play at Wisconsin tomorrow in the battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe. We chatted with Mike Fiammetta of Bucky's5thQuarter.com about the Badgers. You can follow Mike on Twitter @mikefiammetta.

GopherSports: Mike, thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Can you give us a brief scouting report on the Badgers?

Mike Fiammetta: After a close Week 1 win over Northern Illinois and a loss at Oregon State the following Saturday, Wisconsin faced much more early-season adversity than it likely could've expected. But with improved play from quarterback Joel Stave, the apparent revival of running back Montee Ball and the coalescing of the offensive line, the Badgers' offense seems to be rounding into shape.

On the other side of the ball, the Badgers rank fifth in the Big Ten in both scoring defense and total defense, and they are third in the league in rushing defense. They don't force a whole bunch of turnovers (minus-3 turnover margin is 9th in the conference), but as always, they are a "bend-but-don't break" unit that has been solid.

GS: You mentioned the early struggles at the beginning of the year, but Wisconsin seems to be rolling now. What was the turning point for them?

MF: If anything, the turning point might've been the loss at Nebraska. Wisconsin led 27-10 in the third quarter before collapsing in the rest of the second half, amounting to an understandably crushing loss in the conference opener. Since then, the Badgers have won two games in resounding fashion, are getting healthier by the week and do indeed appear to be rolling pretty well right now.

GS: Everyone knows about Montee Ball, but tell us about an under-the-radar player that Gopher fans should keep an eye on Saturday.

MF: Stave, a redshirt freshman, is still facing some growing pains. But should the passing game get going (I see the Gophers do have the Big Ten's second-ranked pass defense), wide receiver Jared Abbrederis has emerged as perhaps the best player on this team. Abbrederis missed the Week 3 game against Utah State after suffering a concussion early in the Oregon State game the week before, but he is as legitimate a big-play threat as you can have. His 18.0 yards per reception are fourth in the conference while he has also scored five touchdowns, tied for third.

GS: Wisconsin does have two defeats this year. What is the key to beating the Badgers this year?

MF: The key to beating the Badgers this year has been limiting their production on the ground while taking advantage of a few costly miscues. Again, the defense has been fairly solid, but the offense has been prone to periods of turnovers and an inability to move the ball.

GS: Want to give us a prediction?

MF: Since these two teams look to be heading in different directions, I see Wisconsin taking this one easily, 41-17.

Coach Kill Discusses Health, Upcoming Schedule

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Minnesota head football coach Jerry Kill discussed his health and upcoming schedule changes during his weekly radio show on KFAN today. You can listen to the entire show here.

Kill, who is a cancer survivor, said he has epileptic seizures and has had seizures for more than 10 years. He addresses his health condition head-on in the following audio clips.

There has also been a lot of talk recently about Minnesota's decision to cancel an upcoming home-and-home series against North Carolina. Kill discussed his decision and said right now he is trying to build a program at Minnesota. When the Gophers are on stable footing, Kill said his scheduling philosophy will change.

Kill's record speaks for itself. While at Southern Illinois, he beat Indiana on the road. While at Northern Illinois he beat Purdue and the Gophers on the road. He has won everywhere he has been and has successfully turned programs around before. His plan to build a program has been tested and proven to work. 

Tickets Available for Remaining Big Ten Home Games

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Buy Tickets Now

Minnesota has three home Big Ten games remaining in the 2012 schedule. The Gophers welcome Purdue to TCF Bank Stadium on Oct. 27. They then play Michigan on Nov. 3 before ending the regular season at home against Michigan State on Nov. 24.

There are great seats available at affordable prices for all three games. Gopher fans can purchase tickets to the Purdue and Michigan State games for as little as $20, while tickets for the Michigan game are available for $30. Fans can order tickets online at MyGopherSports.com. They can also purchase them over the phone at 612-624-8080 (toll free 1-800-U-GOPHER) or in person at the Mariucci Arena box office.

Minnesota is 33-32-3 all-time against Purdue. The Gophers have lost two straight to the Boilermakers, but both of those games were on the road. The last time Purdue visited TCF Bank Stadium ended in a 35-20 win for the Gophers in 2009.

Michigan makes its first trip to Minnesota's new on-campus stadium this season when the teams battle for the Little Brown Jug. The Wolverines have won four straight in the series, as the Gophers last had possession of the jug after a 23-20 road win in 2005. The last time Minnesota beat Michigan at home was a 16-0 win in 1977.

The Gophers close the regular season with a game against Michigan State. Like Purdue, the Spartans have beaten the Gophers two straight times, but those games were also on the road. Michigan State's only appearance at TCF Bank Stadium was a 42-34 win for the Gophers in 2009.

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Gophers Meet the Media: Michigan Tech

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The Minnesota men's hockey team met with the media at Mariucci Arena Wednesday ahead of their weekend trip to Houghton, Mich. to battle with the Huskies of Michigan Tech. Here's what stuck out.

The Gophers will begin defense of the MacNaughton Cup against the Huskies. The intensity is turned up a notch with the beginning of conference play.

"Once you get into the WCHA, you get the feel that this is the real deal," defenseman Mark Alt said.

"I think anytime you deal with conference games there is a little more added," head coach Don Lucia said.

A Trip to Michigan Tech brings a change to an NHL-sized ice rink from the larger sheet present at Mariucci Arena.

"The rink has a whole different feel. That is why it has been good to practice at Ridder Arena to get the small-rink feel," Alt said.

"I like the smaller rink a little better. It will be a test for us as a team because we haven't played on a smaller rink," forward Nick Bjugstad said.

"Things happen faster. You have to use the walls more and get good support both offensively and defensively," head coach Don Lucia said.

This weekend will be Minnesota's longest bus trip of the season. Here is how the Gophers will handle it.

"I do not mind the bus ride. I will have a book to read and make sure I have a pillow for the way back. The key is not forgetting the pillow," head coach Don Lucia said.

"It is a longer road trip than what we are used to, but we are going to prepare the whole way there," Nick Bjugstad said. 


-Article written by Minnesota student intern Josh Brennock


Tip-Off Dinner Set for Oct. 29 at Crave

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Tip-Off Dinner Registration Form

Join Minnesota head women's basketball coach Pam Borton and her staff as they, along with the Fast Break Club, host the 2012-13 Tip-Off Dinner on Monday, Oct. 29 at Crave at the Galleria. 

The event gives Gopher fans the opportunity to enjoy a delicious four-course meal and great company prior to the start of the season.

The event begins at 5:30 p.m. with dinner scheduled to be served at 6:30 p.m. The cost is $40 per person and registration is due by Oct. 22.

What They're Saying - October 18

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'Sota Social planned for Friday in Madison (Gophers)

A look at the Gophers (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Williams, Plsek earned playing time as true freshman (Star Tribune)

Williams getting a chance (1500 ESPN)

Putting the season in perspective (Daily Gopher)

Gray = Gifted Athlete (Pioneer Press, Pioneer Press and Star Tribune)

Wisconsin doesn't want to let go of the Axe (Madison.com)

Run defense will be key for the U (Minnesota Daily)

Great prices on tickets to upcoming Big Ten home games (Gophers)

A loot at Minnesota schedule changes (Daily Gopher)

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'Sota Social Planned for Friday Night in Madison

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The Gophers are headed to Madison, Wis., this weekend for a game against the rival Badgers. If you are planning on making the trip then be sure to stop by the 'Sota Social on Friday night.

The event, which is free to attend, is from 8-10 p.m. in the Superior room at the Madison Marriott West (1313 John Q Hammons Drive Middleton, Wisconsin 53562).

In addition to socializing with fellow Gopher fans there will be light appetizers, music, prize drawings and a cash bar. There will also be special guest speakers and Goldy and the spirit squad will also make an appearance.  

There is no need to RSVP for this event.

What They're Saying - October 17

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AUDIO: Coach Kill's Big Ten teleconference (BTN.com)

Game Notes! (Gophers)

Have you tagged yourself in this amazing TCF Bank Stadium photo yet? (Gophers)

Gophers need to hold onto the ball (Star Tribune)

From Down Under to D1 (Minnesota Daily)

AD Teague explains schedule changes (Star Tribune and 1500 ESPN)

Kill not optimistic about Gray playing on Saturday (Madison.com and FSN.com and ESPN.com)

Gophers are banged up (Star Tribune)

Gophers stand behind coach Kill (Pioneer Press)

What They're Saying - October 16

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Follow Golden Gopher Football:    

It is a Gigapixel Panorama from last Saturday. It is very cool. Tag yourself! (Panorama.com)

Minnesota at Wisconsin: Five Things You Need To Know (GopherSports)

Kill previews Wisconsin game (GopherSports)

Gophers make changes to future schedules (GopherSports)

Teague talks schedule changes (GopherSports)

Gophers to open the next four seasons at home on Thursday (1500 ESPN)

Full speed ahead for coach Kill (FSN)

Gophers Unveil Redesigned CoachBorton.com

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Go Gophers! CoachBorton.com
Go Gophers!

University of Minnesota head women's basketball coach Pam Borton unveiled the newly-redesigned CoachBorton.com Tuesday afternoon. The site features photos and video interviews of the 2012-13 squad and also has information for recruits looking to join the Golden Gopher program.

Check out CoachBorton.com today!

Kill Previews Saturday's Game At Wisconsin

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Coach Kill met with the media today to preview this weekend's game at Wisconsin. You can read a few of the highlights from his press conference below. You can also read a transcript of his entire press conference here.

On Saturday's game...
"Looking forward to this weekend's game, a huge game for us, big rivalry game.  It's what college football is all about.  And the biggest thing is it gives us an opportunity to get out and get better.  That's what you try to do each week."

On a weekend phone call...
"I won't tell you who I called; I haven't talked on the phone much since Saturday, but I picked up the phone to call somebody that I respect.  He's coached this game for a tremendous amount of years, and I was talking to him about our situation a little bit, and I'd like to say it was my words, but it's his.
   
"He says, "Coach," he said, "you're just about where you are when you turn a program around."  I said, "what's that?"  He said, "When you first get into a program, you're just not very darn good."  Then he said, "then you start progressing a little bit and you start winning some and then you start thinking maybe we're pretty good, and then all of a sudden, you know, you win a few games, but you just can't quite get over the corner, and then frustration comes in."  He said, "That's kind of where you're at.  And then the third thing is when you get that program built, then you just find ways to win.  You don't find ways to lose."
   
"So I think we're in that situation right now, that we're a little bit frustrated because we just can't make a play or two or we can't do the fundamental things that you'd like to do to take that next step.  I said all along we don't have any margin for error and we've made some errors that are fundamental that hurt you."

On the team...
"Our kids have had good attitudes.  They had good attitudes on Sunday, and we're so darn young I don't think they know any better.  So they're looking forward to practice and getting better."

On the health of his team...
"Ed Olson is very questionable and probably won't play.  Devin Tufts is questionable and probably won't play.  Derrick Wells has a laceration on his knee.  Hopefully we can get him healed up to where he's able to go.  MarQueis is a question mark.  Isaac Fruechte is a question mark, and Marcus Jones is a question mark. So that's where we're at."

On his healthy wide receivers...

"I think Andre did some good things in the game.  We replaced young with young.  And you know, next guy's gotta step up.  I mean that's their opportunity."

On Wisconsin's running game...
"I think that's just who they are.  I think Wisconsin didn't get where they've been over the last, you know, years without having identity, and their identity is running the football.  And you know, I don't know what happened early in the year.  They made some moves and adjustments and coaching changes and so forth.  And I think that they know what they want to do and how they want to do it.

"But as far as stopping the run game or playing great defense or playing good offense, it comes down to execution.  I mean it isn't complicated.  You gotta do your job and you gotta fit in the right gap and you gotta do your responsibility and not try to do somebody else's and it's a lot easier said than done because they're trying to do the same things and if they beat you to the punch, they beat you to the spot that you're trying to get at, then they're going to have success."
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Gophers Top National Polls After Weekend Sweep

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Bolstered by a sweep of then-No. 16 Michigan State over the weekend, the Gophers earned No. 1 rankings on Monday in both the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine and USCHO.com polls.

The Gophers maintain their top ranking in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll after earning 30 of a possible 32 first-place votes. North Dakota and Boston College each garner a first-place vote, they rank second and third respectively in this week's poll. Rounding out the top five are Miami University at four and Cornell at five. 

Minnesota took over the top spot in the USCHO.com Poll after last week's No. 1 squad, Boston College, faltered at Northeastern on Saturday. Of the possible 50 first-place votes, the Gophers take home 46. The only other teams to collect a first-place vote are North Dakota, Boston College, and Union. Joining the Gophers in the top five are North Dakota, Boston College, Miami University, and Michigan. 

The Gophers got off to quick starts in both games this weekend en route to 5-1 and 7-1 victories over Michigan State. Seventeen skaters posted a point for Minnesota on the weekend, led by Zach Budish with four assists. The Gophers also received a pair of goals each from Erik Haula, Nick Bjugstad, and Ben Marshall versus the Spartans. Goalies Michael Shibrowski and Adam Wilcox each started a game and recorded their first victory as Gophers.

Story by University of Minnesota Student Intern Josh Brennock 

Instant Analysis: Minnesota 7, Michigan State 1

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Instant analysis of Minnesota's 7-1 win over Michigan State to complete a weekend sweep. 

Sweeping Start

Last season, the Gophers completed eight sweeps in the regular season including four at Mariucci Arena. Tonight, in front of a rambunctious crowd, the Gophers picked up their first sweep of the season. The Gophers were a spirited team this weekend as they cruised to 5-1 and 7-1 victories over the Spartans. Minnesota's skill was on full display throughout the two games as they overwhelmed Michigan State offensively and didn't give up much to the Michigan State offense. 

Gophers Coming Out Fast

For the second-straight night the Gophers got off to a hot start. Last night, Marshall and Bjugstad tallied within the opening 6:40 of the game. Tonight, the Gophers did even better. Posting three goals in the opening 7:19. The Gophers' intensity to start the last two games has been really impressive. Give credit to the Gophers who were at full-throttle offensively with seven different players scoring a goal on the night.

Isackson Fits Right In

Many wondered at the start of last weekend's exhibition why Christian Isackson, who only played in 11 games last season, was on the top line with Bjugstad and Rau. Against the Spartans, he once again showed he belonged. He posted three points this weekend, including his first career goal. Christian also showed he had the speed and hockey smarts to combine nicely with his skilled linemates. This comes after a hat trick in the exhibition game against Lethbridge last week.

Wilcox Appears and Wins

Freshman Adam Wilcox got the win in his first collegiate game. He faced 11 shots and made ten saves. He was not tested often as the Gophers spent most of the game in the offensive end, but Adam was sharp early. His first stop of the game came when there was no lead to protect. He snared the puck out of the air with a flashy glove-hand. He rebounded nicely after getting run over in his crease at the end off the second period. With Wilcox and junior Michael Shibrowski, the Gophers netminding looks to be in good hands. They will get their first taste of life on the road in the WCHA when the Gophers visit Michigan Tech next weekend. 

Gray Leads Gophers Before Suffering Ankle Injury

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By Michael Molde, GopherSports.com

On a gray and rainy Homecoming afternoon at TCF Bank Stadium, senior quarterback MarQueis Gray appropriately made his return to the Golden Gophers. It came in a tough 21-13 loss to Northwestern, but Gray made his impact felt when he was on the field.

Gray, who missed the past two games with a high ankle sprain surprisingly made his first appearance of the game at wide receiver. He hauled in a 16-yard pass from Max Shortell in the opening quarter, drawing one of the loudest cheers of the afternoon from the crowd of 49,651. It was Gray's first reception since catching 42 passes for 587 yards and five TDs when he last lined up at the position during the 2010 season.
Go Gophers! Lucia
Go Gophers!
MarQueis Gray paced the Gopher offense before leaving with an ankle injury.
Go Gophers!

Later in the first quarter, Gray took his first snaps at quarterback since being injured against Western Michigan on Sept. 15. He later scored the Gophers' lone touchdown of the afternoon on a 25-yard burst up the middle early in the second quarter. Again, the Homecoming crowd roared its approval.

For the game, Gray finished with a team-high 86 yards rushing on just nine carries (9.6 per attempt), while completing 7-of-11 passes for 66 yards with an interception.

Unfortunately, late in the third quarter, Gray had to leave the game after sustaining an ankle injury.

"I think it's a low ankle sprain. That's what I'm told," Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill said. "You're in the heat of the battle, and you've got a trainer who just said he's out, so we're trying to hustle around. If something happens to Max (Shortell), you've got to know what the next protocol is and so forth. It was challenging times to say the least, but that's part of the game."

Several of Gray's runs were highlight-reel material, as he twice sprinted up the middle and collided with a Northwestern defender, who paid the price for attempting to tackle the 6-foot-4, 250-pound signal-caller.

"Gray's a great player. He's one of the best athletes in this league," Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald said after the game." You can see his toughness, the way he battled back to go out there and play. That kid's a war daddy. He's a big man, and they were able to get some things going a little bit (with him in the game)."

"Their offensive line did a great job getting the double teams on us," Northwestern defensive tackle Brian Arnfelt said. "He's (Gray) big, so you've got to bring the pads when you tackle him. I think we learned, if anything today, arm tackles aren't going to work in the Big Ten."

With the 86 yards on the ground, Gray moved up two spots on Minnesota's all-time rushing list. Saturday's performance moved him past Shorty Almquist (1925-27) and Terry Jackson II (2001-03), as he now ranks 25th with 323 attempts for 1,661 career yards.

The loss, which dropped Minnesota to 4-2 overall and 0-2 in the Big Ten, wasn't what the Golden Gophers were hoping for. But Gray made his impact on the game.

His status for next week at Wisconsin is not yet known. Coach Kill said after the game he will know more about the severity of the injury in the next couple days. 

What They're Saying - October 13

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GigaPixels. Lots of them at TCF Bank Stadium (GopherSports)

D.L. Wilhite: A Global Gopher (GopherSports)

Five keys to beating Northwestern (Pioneer Press)

Today is a big day for the Gophers (Star Tribune, 1500 ESPN)

Minnesota turning the tables on NU (Chicago Sun-Times)

A shootout prediction (Star Tribune)

Two teams looking to get back on track (Daily Herald)

D.L. Wilhite: A Global Gopher

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Story by Justine Buerkle

Before he came to the University of Minnesota, defensive end D.L. Wilhite had never flown on an airplane.

Now a redshirt senior, the Lexington, Ky., native has traveled the world.

Wilhite has made far-away Minneapolis his home for the past five years. He has settled into his role on the football field, but has never let himself get too comfortable in his surroundings. Wilhite constantly challenges himself on and off the field. He is a true student-athlete and a man of the world.

The first step in Wilhite's journey as a Golden Gopher proved to be a difficult but rewarding one. Being away from his family, he still experiences homesickness, but he knows that is all a part of independence.

"I'm really thankful that I made the decision to come to the University of Minnesota," Wilhite said. "Being so far away from home, it gave me the opportunity to grow a lot as a man."

Even though branching out to a different region of the United States was a big step, Wilhite was not done yet. He still wanted to see more. Since he knew he would be at the University of Minnesota for five years, he decided to tack on a global studies major in addition to his history major.

"Global studies just felt like it really fit and would give me the opportunity to do a lot of cool things," he said.

He was right about that. This past January, Wilhite studied abroad in Qatar. He stopped at airports in Amsterdam and Saudi Arabia on the way there.

"To say that I've been to all these countries and have been able to do all these things is surreal a little bit," he said. "Where I'm from, a lot of people don't get the opportunity to do that kind of thing."

In Qatar, Wilhite got to see the inner workings of Al Jazeera, a major Arabic news network. He enjoyed trying local foods and taking in the scenery of the desert and coastal areas. He also tested out the Arabic he had learned in class at Minnesota.

"I didn't know too much at that time," he said. "I knew my numbers. We got to go to a souk and barter and talk the prices down. It was definitely fun."

Wilhite has continued to travel within the United States, too. In addition to football road trips, one of the major trips he took happened over spring break in 2011. He went with Students Today Leaders Forever on a service-oriented bus tour to Washington, D.C., with stops along the way to volunteer.

"That's probably one of my best experiences since I've been in college," Wilhite said. "I think it's better even than my study abroad trip, because it gave me a chance to do a lot of good, help a lot of people, and at the same time, make a lot of new friends and understand myself a little bit more from doing something like that."

Early in his college career, Wilhite became involved in volunteering around the Twin Cities. Since then he has continued to find new opportunities on his own. Assistant director of student-athlete affairs Anissa Lightner, who directs the department's Maroon and Gold Impacting the Community (MAGIC) program, said that people often surprise her with stories about things she had not even known Wilhite was planning to do.

"I'm really proud of him for taking the resources and experiences he gained early on and using those to seek out his own opportunities on an even broader scale than the MAGIC program," Lightner said. "He has been able to do things on a national and international scale. He's a great ambassador for our program."

With all the work he does during the school year, it might seem natural to take a break during the summer to just get ready for the upcoming football season. But that is not Wilhite's style. This past summer, he had an internship with the Minnesota Historical Society. In summer 2011, Wilhite completed a research project through the Ronald E. McNair Scholars program. He studied the Egyptian revolution and the effects of transnational institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. He gained valuable research skills and knowledge about graduate school in the process.

"It took an entire summer to complete, so it's a pretty big deal," Wilhite said of the project. "It's a lot of work. It was basically like a full-time job."

When he presented his research that August at Coffman Memorial Union on campus, the academic and athletic sides of his life intersected. Head coach Jerry Kill and director of operations Dan O'Brien were among those who came to the program that day.

"The worlds seem so distant between student and athlete," Wilhite said. "For them to come and take a look at what it takes to be a student, and all the hard work I put in, I think it was good for them to get a better understanding of me and what it means to be a student for me. And it meant a lot to me to see them there."

Defensive line coach Jeff Phelps said that Wilhite can set an example for younger Gophers by showing them that it is both possible and important to be well-rounded. He also sees crossover between Wilhite's academic and athletic skill sets.

"If you've got a guy that doesn't do things right off the field or doesn't do things right in the classroom, you're going to find that they're not doing things right on the field as well," Phelps said. "He's consistent in that and does a great job academically. He doesn't have to take a million reps to understand what we're asking him to do. He can go out there and just perform at his best."

In his fifth year in the Minnesota football program, and his second season with the same coaching staff, Wilhite has had time to gain a comfort level in the Gophers' system. He said that staying healthy has also been critical in allowing him to practice and play freely. As his career has progressed, he has gained more playing time and continued to improve.

In fact, through five games in 2012, Wilhite found himself right near the top of the Big Ten sacks list with 4.5 sacks. In just four games, Wilhite surpassed last year's team-leading total of 4.0 sacks by the late Gary Tinsley. Entering the season, the Gopher defense declared its intention to improve that part of its game, and Wilhite and his teammates have delivered.

"Everything we do, we're thinking about sacks constantly," he said. "Everything. At meetings, on the field, in our drills, we think about sacks. Through that focus, when you get to the game, your mind is already focusing on sacks. No matter what, everything is sack-driven."

The defensive linemen challenge each other to be the one to get to the quarterback. This competition among teammates makes it fun and increases production. The entire defense contributes to causing a sack, but Wilhite in particular has stood out so far in that role this season.

"I think it's a goal that he's set for himself, as far as something that he wanted to leave as his legacy here at the U," Phelps said. "The way we play our defensive ends, we really need them to provide that type of pressure on the quarterback. We want to win first down. We want to stop the run. But it doesn't really do us any good if we can't get to the quarterback on third downs and get off the field. I'm excited that he's embraced that role."

At the same time as he is trying to close out his final football season with a bang, Wilhite is also finishing up his double major and trying to plan his future. Performing well in the roles of student, athlete, and involved community member is a difficult feat to accomplish, and Wilhite admits that balancing it all is hard sometimes.

"Sometimes I have to check myself and remind myself what my priorities are in life," he said. "Really, I'd say the key is time management at the end of the day."

While Wilhite is well organized in his current activities, he has not yet decided what he will do when his Gopher football career ends. He might study abroad again. He might go on another STLF tour. He might go into grad school. He might eventually become a professor, but not before gaining more hands-on experience first.

One thing is certain though. Whatever Wilhite's future holds, it will not be boring.

Gophers Hold Annual Media Day

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Go Gophers! Rachel Banham
Go Gophers!
Photo Gallery
Go Gophers! Pam Borton
Go Gophers!

Go Gophers!


The University of Minnesota women's basketball program held its annual Media Day Friday in the Sports Pavilion Media Room, with members of the Twin Cities media (print, radio and television) coming out to get the scoop on the 2012-13 Gophers.  

Head coach Pam Borton and sophomore captain Rachel Banham participated in Media Day Live on Gophersports.com, before holding their press conference in the media room.

Borton and Banham talked about the excitement surrounding the 2012-13 season, how the newcomers will have an immediate impact on the team and the tough schedule the Gophers have lined up for the season.  

Freshmen Jackie Johnson, Shayne Mullaney and Kayla Hirt also sat down for interviews duing the day.

Instant Analysis: Minnesota 5, Michigan State 1

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The Gophers started the season with a 5-1 victory over the Spartans of Michigan State.


Fast Start Pays Off
The tone of the game was set right away as the Gophers come out flying tonight. Sam Warning used his speed within the opening minutes to get a clear breakaway. Michigan State goalie Will Yanakeef made a nice save, but the Gophers never turned back, as they continued to apply intense pressure. It quickly paid off as Ben Marshall and Nick Bjugstad found the back of the net within the game's first seven minutes. Christian Isackson added a third goal later in the period. The Gophers used their speed on the large ice to control the pace of play tonight.

Opening Night Done Right
The Gophers have made a habit of stating the season on the right foot. They have now won on opening night five of the last six years, the only blemish coming at North Dakota .in 2009. Tonight, the Gophers were strong right out off the gates, pouncing on Michigan State for a first period 3-0 lead. This mirrors last season where Sacred Heart found themselves down inside of the opening minute when Kyle Rau scored his first collegiate goal. 

Spartan Revenge
The Gophers have struggled with Michigan State in the recent past, the Gophers defeated the Spartans tonight for the first time in the last four meetings. Last season in East Lansing, MSU came out on top 4-3 on Friday night before the teams skated to a 4-4 tie on Saturday. 

Goaltending  Checks Off
Michael Shibrowski earned his first collegiate win tonight since Feb. 6, 2010 when he backstopped Colorado College to a 5-3 victory against Mercyhurst. He was strong in between the pipes tonight as he made 25 saves, including robbing MSU's Matt Berry, who was in on a breakaway in the third period. Only a late goal from Tanner Sorenson ruined Shibrowski's perfect night. The pundits have asked questions of Minnesota's goaltending this season, and Shibrowski has answered all questions. He gave the Gophers exactly what they needed tonight after stopping all nine shots he faced against Lethbridge in the exhibition.

All Four Lines were Rolling
The Gophers made it look easy offensively tonight as all four lines were creating chances. The top line preformed exactly as expected with Nick Bjugstad tallying a goal and an assist and Christian Isackson following up his exhibition hat trick with his first career goal, but the Gophers were more than one line tonight. Members of the top three lines scored and the fourth line was around the net all night. Jake Parenteau, who moved up to forward tonight seemed to fit in seamlessly and give the team energy with his linemates, Tom Serratore and A.J. Michaelson. If the Gophers have all four lines working, they will be a tough match for any opponent. 

What They're Saying - October 12

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$10 tickets for tomorrow's game! (KFAN)

Depth chart and injury report for Oct. 13 (GopherSports)

Know The Opponent: Northwestern (GopherSports)

Coach Kill radio show from Thursday (KFAN)

Coach Limegrover did the radio thing yesterday too (KFAN)

Receivers starting to catch on (Star Tribune)

NU offense can be tough to handle (Pioneer Press)

Gophers prepared for two NU QBs (Minnesota Daily)

QBs will be key on Saturday and more things to pay attention to (FSN)

Only one local reporter could write about Mike Shanahan and his time at the U (Sid)

NU AD on Coach Kill: "He's a quality, quality human being. A guy you'd turn your son over to." (Chicago Tribune)

A wonderful story written about Keanon Cooper and the late Gary Tinsley (Daily Northwestern)

Big game for both team on Saturday (Daily Northwestern)

Northwestern's do-it-all player (Star Tribune)

Know Thy Opponent: Northwestern

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The Gophers face high-powered Northwestern this weekend. We spoke with Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune to learn more about the Wildcats. You can follow Greenstein on Twitter @TeddyGreenstein.

GopherSports: Teddy, thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Can you give us a brief scouting report on Northwestern?

Teddy Greenstein: This Northwestern team is way different than what we saw the past two years. It's an extreme example, but the old offense was what the Wildcats showed in the 2010 Outback Bowl, a 38-35 loss to Auburn. They attempted 78 throws, racked up 532 passing yards but gained just 114 on the ground.

These Wildcats rank 14th nationally in rushing offense, at 233.5 yards per game. They're at their best with a backfield of tailback Venric Mark and quarterback Kain Colter, running the option. Trevor Siemian is a pure passer who now gets most of the snaps at quarterback and is completing 65.8 percent of his throws. Colter was uncoverable (if that's a word) against Indiana as a slot receiver (131 yards), but Penn State bottled him up (17 yards).

Defensively, Northwestern is strong against the run (15th nationally, 102.7 yards per game) but vulnerable to good passing attacks. Penn State's Matt McGloin had little trouble torching NU's secondary last week, completing 35 of 51 passes for 282 yards and two scores.

NU's special teams have been excellent with Mark returning two punts for scores and Jeff Budzien perfect on 11 field-goal tries.

GS: You mentioned Kain Colter, who is a do-it-all athlete. Where can fans expect to see him on Saturday?

TG: Kain is a superb runner, and teammates say he has "the wiggles." He's terrific on read-option plays, and Indiana could not cover him as a slot receiver. But Penn State found a way. He's also an effective passer, especially on shorter routes, but did not attempt a pass at State College.

GS: Who is an under-the-radar player that Gopher fans should keep an eye on on Saturday?

TG: Linebacker Chi Chi Ariguzo (great name) is always around the football. He intercepted a deflected pass at Syracuse and returned a fumble for a touchdown. A week later he was the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Week for his three tackles-for-loss against Vanderbilt. He recovered a fumble against Boston College and had 12 tackles at Penn State.

GS: Finish this thought. Northwestern will win if...

TG: If the Wildcats can get back to what coach Pat Fitzgerald calls their "blueprint" - running lots of play, hogging the clock, wearing down the defense. NU's ideal touchdown drive is 15 plays, 80 yards - and at a super-fast, no-huddle tempo. Penn State swiped that blueprint Saturday, running 99 plays to NU's 61. The result was that NU's defenders were gassed in the fourth quarter, in which they got outscored 22-0.

GS: Teddy, thanks for taking the time to speak with us. We appreciate it.

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Golden Gopher Special Delivery

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Go Gophers! Season Ticket Delivery
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Photo Gallery

A handful of lucky season ticket holders were greeted at their doors by members of the University of Minnesota women's basketball team Thursday afternoon, as the Gophers hit the streets to hand-deliver 2012-13 season tickets to some of their most faithful fans.

Go Gophers! Season Ticket Delivery
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Go Gophers!

The gesture was well received by the Minnesota supporters, an indication that the season-ticket delivery could become a yearly tradition.

Check out the photo gallery from the home deliveries. Charlie the dog was one of the biggest hits on the day! 

Season tickets are still available for the 2012-13 women's basketball season by calling the University of Minnesota Ticket Office at 612.624.8080 or 1.800.UGOPHER. 

Fans can get a first look at this year's women's basketball squad tomorrow night when they join the Gopher men's basketball team in hosting Gopher All-Star Friday Night at Williams Arena. Doors open at 7:00 p.m., with autographs set to begin at 7:30 p.m.  

Game 6 Depth Chart, Injury Report

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Minnesota Depth Chart For Oct. 13

OFFENSE
Left Tackle

58 - Ed Olson    6-7    312    R-Jr.    Mahtomedi, Minn. (Mahtomedi)
74 - Marek Lenkiewicz    6-5    281    R-So.    Tinley Park, Ill. (Victor J. Andrew)
Left Guard
63 - Jon Christenson    6-4    288    R-Fr.     Minnetonka, Minn. (Minnetonka)
53 - Tommy Olson    6-4    298    So.     Mahtomedi, Minn. (Mahtomedi)
Center
52 - Zac Epping    6-2    306    R-So.     Kenosha, Wis. (Tremper)
62 - Zach Mottla    6-2    287    R-Jr.     Edina, Minn. (Cretin-Derham Hall)
Right Guard
64 - Caleb Bak    6-3    294    R-So.     Columbia Heights, Minn. (Concordia Academy)
73 - Joe Bjorklund    6-5    293    R-Fr.     Rosemount, Minn. (Rosemount)
Right Tackle
65 - Josh Campion    6-5    309    R-Fr.     Fergus Falls, Minn. (Fork Union Military Academy)
75 - Ernie Heifort    6-5    273    R-Fr.     Bemidji, Minn. (Bemidji)
Quarterback
11 - Max Shortell     6-6    237    So.     Shawnee Mission, Kan. (Bishop Miege)
5 - MarQueis Gray    6-5    250    Sr.     Indianapolis, Ind. (Ben Davis)
OR
9 - Philip Nelson    6-2    222    Fr.     Mankato, Minn. (West)
Tailback
20 - Donnell Kirkwood    5-10    219    R-So.     Delray Beach, Fla. (Atlantic)
4 - KJ Maye    5-10    190    Fr.     Mobile, Ala. (Murphy)
OR
21 - James Gillum    5-11    204    Jr.     Pearl River, La. (Mississippi Gulf Coast CC)
H-Back/Fullback
81 - John Rabe    6-4    258    Sr.     Iowa Falls, Iowa (Ellsworth CC)
30 - Mike Henry    6-1    238    R-Jr.     Mahtomedi, Minn. (Mahtomedi)
Y
83 - Drew Goodger    6-5    255    So.     Shawnee Mission, Kan. (Northwest)
47 - Alex Bisch    6-6    249    R-So.     Northfield, Minn. (Northfield)
Z
14 - Isaac Fruechte     6-3    205    So.     Caledonia, Minn. (Rochester CTC)
OR
82 - A.J. Barker    6-1    191    R-Jr.     St. Paul, Minn. (De La Salle)
1 - Brandon Green    6-0    189    R-Sr.     Chicago, Ill. (Robeson)
X
80 - Devin Crawford-Tufts    6-2    194    So.     Edina, Minn. (Edina)
12 - Andre McDonald    6-2    200    Fr.     Minnetonka, Minn. (Hopkins)
H
15 - Marcus Jones    5-8    172    So.     Wake Forest, N.C. (Wake Forest-Rolesville)
18 - Derrick Engel    6-2    182    R-Jr.     Chaska, Minn. (Winona State)

DEFENSE
End

98 - Michael Amaefula    6-2    242    So.    Arlington, Texas (Bowie)
93 - Ben Perry    6-5    243    R-So.    Southlake, Texas (Carroll)
Tackle
46 - Cameron Botticelli    6-5    284    R-So.    Milwaukee, Wis. (Marquette University HS)
92 - Roland Johnson    6-1    295    Jr.    Camden, S.C. (Butler County CC)
Nose
99 - Ra'Shede Hageman    6-6    301    R-Jr.    Minneapolis, Minn. (Washburn)
97 - Scott Ekpe    6-4    286    Fr.    Lewisville, Texas (Lewisville)
End
95 - D.L. Wilhite    6-3    244    Sr.    Lexington, Ky. (Bryan Station)
55 - Theiren Cockran    6-6    237    R-Fr.    Homestead, Fla. (Homestead)
Strongside Linebacker
57 - Aaron Hill    6-2    228    R-Jr.    St. Charles, Mo. (Lutheran)
OR
32 - Lamonte Edwards    6-2    212    R-So.    Woodbury, Minn. (Woodbury)
8 - Spencer Reeves    6-2    234    Sr.    Dallas, Texas (Skyline)
Middle Linebacker
26 - Mike Rallis    6-2    245    R-Sr.    Edina, Minn. (Edina)
1 - Brendan Beal    6-3    249    R-Jr.    Bangor, Pa. (Florida)
Weakside Linebacker
4 - Keanon Cooper    6-0    220    R-Sr.    Dallas, Texas (Skyline)
9 - James Manuel     6-2    210    Jr.    Indianapolis, Ind. (Warren Central)
Cornerback
2 - Troy Stoudermire    5-10    195    Sr.    Dallas, Texas (Skyline)
22 - Jeremy Baltazar    6-0    196    Jr.    Corona, Calif. (Blinn College)
Safety
13 - Derrick Wells    6-0    198    So.    Lehigh Acres, Fla. (Lehigh)
7 - Damarius Travis    6-2    205    Fr.     Pensacola, Fla. (Pensacola)
Safety
27 - Cedric Thompson    5-10    199    So.    Calipatria, Calif. (Calipatria)
OR
21 - Brock Vereen    6-0    201    Jr.    Valencia, Calif. (Valencia)
6 - Grayson Levine    5-11    202    So.    Eden Prairie, Minn. (Eden Prairie)
Cornerback
23 - Michael Carter    5-11    189    Sr.    Pompano Beach, Fla. (Ely)
3 - Martez Shabazz     5-11    168    Jr.    DeSoto, Texas (Trinity Valley CC)

SPECIAL TEAMS
Kicker
39 - Jordan Wettstein    5-11    180    Sr.    De Pere, Wis. (De Pere)
36 - Chris Hawthorne    6-6    198    Jr.    Raleigh, N.C. (North Carolina State)
Punter
38 - Christian Eldred    6-3    190    So.    Melbourne, Australia (Monash University)
Long Snapper
48 - Jake Filkins    6-2    236    Jr.    Prescott, Wis. (Prescott)
96 - Dave Ramlet    6-2    237    R-So.    Appleton, Wis. (Xavier)
Holder
38 - David Schwerman    6-0    195    Sr.    Kettle Moraine, Wis. (Kettle Moraine)
Kick Returner
2 - Troy Stoudermire    5-10    195    Sr.    Dallas, Texas (Skyline)
15 - Marcus Jones    5-8    172    So.    Wake Forest, N.C. (Wake Forest-Rolesville)
4 - KJ Maye    5-10    190    Fr.    Mobile, Ala. (Murphy)
Punt Returner
82 - A.J. Barker    6-1    191    R-Jr.    St. Paul, Minn. (De La Salle)

INJURY REPORT FOR OCT. 13
Roland Johnson - Questionable
Devon Wright - Questionable
Foster Bush - Out
Jamel Harbison - Out for the 2012 season


Gophers Among the Nation's Best at Adidas Invite

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The No. 16 Minnesota men's cross country team will be among some of the nation's top programs this Friday at the adidas Invitational - the team's final competition before the Big Ten Championships later this month. 

Top-ranked Wisconsin hosts the fourth-annual event while 46 men's programs will be competing in the 8-kilometer course. Nineteen of the top 30 ranked teams in the country will be in action at Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course including six of the country's top 10 programs. 

With many of the nation's top cross country programs at this weekend's event, the Gophers have a golden opportunity to add to their credentials for the NCAA championships in November. 

Minnesota is coming off its first-ever team title at the Roy Griak Invitational two weeks ago. The Gophers posted 67 team points at the Griak while senior John Simons paced the team with an eighth-place finish. 

Gophers Meet the Media: Michigan State

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Go Gophers!
Michael Shibrowski
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Members of the men's hockey team meet with the media Wednesday ahead of this weekend's series at Mariucci Arena with Michigan State.

The Spartans were in the NCAA tournament a year ago and are sure to provide the Gophers with a stern test. "We are opening with a real quality opponent. (Michigan State) has a good nucleus returning with their starting goaltender and six of their top nine forwards from the end of last year," head coach Don Lucia said. He went on to say the experience this year's squad has makes them ready for the tough test in week one.

Lucia sees this weekend's games as a good chance to test the team and find out what works best. "We will be experimenting this weekend, we will probably play quite a few new guys from Friday to Saturday night. Both goalies will play this weekend," Lucia said.

One of those masked man expected to see time this weekend is junior Michael Shibrowski. He is ready and excited for the challenge. "I have to go out there and do my job, and everyone will do their job. We put together a win as a team," Shibrowski said. Freshman Adam Wilcox will also likely see time in net for Minnesota.  

Michigan State got the better of the Gophers in East Lansing, Mich. last season, earning a win and a tie. Extra motivation is definitely there. "Only coming away with one point was a tough pill to swallow. There is a bit of a revenge factor," junior defenseman Nate Schmidt said. 

With the start of the Big Ten play next season, the elements for a rivalry are present. "(This matchup) lays the foundation of a rivalry for years to come" Schmidt said. Coach Lucia thinks agreed, adding he anticipates there will be a rivalry with all Big Ten teams.

Friday night's game is at 6 p.m. and Saturday night's game is at 8 p.m.

-Article by Minnesota  student intern Josh Brennock

What They're Saying - October 11

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ALERT: Pay attention to parking this weekend (GopherSports)

Under the Helmet with Derrick Wells (GopherSports)

Shortell will be ready to play (FSN)

U game plan will fit either QB (Star Tribune)

Gray could be used in limited action (Pioneer Press)

Gophers worked on defense during the bye week (Minnesota Daily and Star Tribune)

Bye week over, Gophers ready to get back on the field (1500 ESPN)

On-campus stadium movement was started long ago (Minnesota Daily)

A look at the Wildcats (Chicago Tribune)

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Under The Helmet with Derrick Wells

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Go Gophers! Derrick Wells
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Derrick Wells leads the Gophers in pass breakups this year.
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Safety Derrick Wells leads the Gophers in total tackles (36), solo tackles (24), interceptions (2), pass breakups (7) and passes defended (9) this year.  We caught up with the sophomore and found out a little bit more about him.

GopherSports: How does somebody from Florida end up at the University of Minnesota?

Derrick Wells: My high school coaches had a good connection because they coached with the coaches here at Minnesota. That's what got them to start recruiting me.

GS: How are you adjusting to the difference in climate?

DW: I've been through it for a year so I think it's going to be good this year. It's kind of tough transitioning to the cold from the sun of Florida though.

GS: You weren't particularly heavily recruited out of high school. Do you get motivation from that as an underdog?

DW: Yeah, that's what we've got on the back of our shirts. I do take that as motivation that I wasn't heavily recruited out of high school. That's what pushes me every day to work hard and get better.

GS: You were named the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week after the first week of play this year. What did that mean to you?

DW: It's a big accomplishment for the team, all the players. I think it was a good look for the team knowing that they helped me to get it. We put in good work in the off-season so I think it was good for the team.

GS: How would you describe yourself?

DW: Laid back and just letting everything come to me. I'm not trying to force anything. I'm just trying to wait for the right opportunity to do what I have to do.

GS: What kind of music gets you pumped up before games?

DW: I like local rappers from Fort Myers. Guys like Plies and Frank Lini.

GS: You also ran track in high school. Can anyone on the team match you speed wise?

DW: when I ran track in high school it wasn't really a big thing but I do think that I have speed. There are a couple of people on the team that have speed. Marcus Jones, Troy Stoudermire, Steve Montgomery, Devin Crawford-Tufts and Keanon Cooper definitely have some speed.

GS: Who would win in a race between all of you?

DW: That would be a good one, but I think I would win.

GS: You are a pretty physical safety. Would you rather make an interception or lay a big hit and force a fumble?

DW: For me, I'm just trying to do what's best for the team so whatever comes to me I just try to make the play.

GS: Are there any players that you looked up to growing up?

DW: I have three older brothers who played football so I looked up to them when I needed stuff. They helped me out a lot growing up.

GS: What do you like to do in your free time?

DW: I watch television, surf the internet, go on Facebook or Twitter and play video games. That's about it.

Go Gophers! MediaDayLive
Go Gophers!

BOOKMARK THIS: GOPHER BASKETBALL MEDIA DAY LIVE PAGE

Join Gopher basketball play-by-play voices Mike Grimm (men's) and Corbu Stathes (women's) as they host the second annual "Media Day Live" broadcast on GopherSports.com this Friday, Oct. 12 beginning at 3:30 p.m. Click here to access the live broadcast at 3:30 on Friday.

Mike and Corbu will host a wide variety of guests during the half-hour live broadcast, including head coaches Tubby Smith and Pam Borton, as well as Rodney Williams, Trevor Mbakwe & Andre Hollins from the men's team and Rachel Banham from the women's team.
Go Gophers! MediaDayLive
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Pam Borton will be among the guests at "Media Day Live" Friday on GopherSports.com
Go Gophers!

Basketball fans can join in on the action by Tweeting Mike (@MikeGrimm3) and Corbu (@CorbuStathes) questions before the broadcast OR via the live chat feature on our Media Day Live page during the broadcast. Quotes from the broadcast will be live Tweeted from the official accounts of Gopher Basketball, @GopherBBall and @GophersWBB.

Basketball Media Day Live Guest Schedule (times approximate):

3:00 - 3:35: Tubby Smith
3:35 - 3:40: Trevor Mbakwe
3:40 - 3:45: Rodney Williams
3:45 - 3:50: Andre Hollins
3:50 - 4:00: Pam Borton and Rachel Banham

The University of Minnesota men's and women's basketball programs will officially begin the season by hosting "Gopher All-Star Friday Night" on Oct. 12 at Williams Arena. The event will begin at 7:00 p.m.; the entire night's schedule is available by clicking here. The Williams Arena doors will open at 7:00 p.m. in preparation for the evening's first event.

What They're Saying - October 10

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Coach Kill previews Northwestern, updates MarQueis Gray's injury status (GopherSports)

No Place Like Home (YouTube)

What happened the last time Minnesota hosted NU on Homecoming on Oct. 13? (GopherSports)

Gray returns to practice, but his status is uncertain (1500 ESPN)

More MarQueis (Pioneer Press, FSN)

Two teams, four QBs (Star Tribune)

Gophers looking forward (AP)

Northwestern looking to improve the little things (The Daily Northwestern)

Brock Vereen: "We are 4-1. That is something to be happy about, but nothing to be content about." (AudioBoo)

Go Gophers! MediaDayLive
Go Gophers!

BOOKMARK THIS: GOPHER BASKETBALL MEDIA DAY LIVE PAGE

Join Gopher basketball play-by-play voices Mike Grimm (men's) and Corbu Stathes (women's) as they host the second annual "Media Day Live" broadcast on GopherSports.com this Friday, Oct. 12 beginning at 3:30 p.m.

Mike and Corbu will host a wide variety of guests during the half-hour live broadcast, including head coaches Tubby Smith and Pam Borton, as well as Rodney Williams, Trevor Mbakwe & Andre Hollins from the men's team and Rachel Banham from the women's team.
Go Gophers! MediaDayLive
Go Gophers!
Tubby Smith will be among the guests at "Media Day Live" Friday on GopherSports.com
Go Gophers!

Basketball fans can join in on the action by Tweeting Mike (@MikeGrimm3) and Corbu (@CorbuStathes) questions before the broadcast OR via the live chat feature on our Media Day Live page during the broadcast. Quotes from the broadcast will be live Tweeted from the official accounts of Gopher Basketball, @GopherBBall and @GophersWBB.

Basketball Media Day Live Guest Schedule (times approximate):

3:00 - 3:35: Tubby Smith
3:35 - 3:40: Trevor Mbakwe
3:40 - 3:45: Rodney Williams
3:45 - 3:50: Andre Hollins
3:50 - 4:00: Pam Borton and Rachel Banham

The University of Minnesota men's and women's basketball programs will officially begin the season by hosting "Gopher All-Star Friday Night" on Oct. 12 at Williams Arena. The event will begin at 7:00 p.m.; the entire night's schedule is available by clicking here. The Williams Arena doors will open at 7:00 p.m. in preparation for the evening's first event.

Freshman Faceoff: Brady Skjei

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Brady Skjei
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As the 2012-13 season rolls on, we'll chat with each of Gopher Hockey's freshmen including this week's featured newcomer -- defenseman Christian Horn. 

After two seasons with the U.S. National Team Development Program, Brady Skjei was able to achieve one of his dreams when the New York Rangers selected him in the first round (28th overall) in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. 

This weekend, he'll take on another dream when he laces up his skates for the first time as a Golden Gopher. 

We recently caught up with Brady.

Being from Lakeville, what does it mean to be a Golden Gopher?
"It is awesome! I have been dreaming of it since I was a little kid. I can not wait for the season to start."

What did you learn or take from the experience from the U.S. National team Development Program?
"The experience went very well. I think it made me a much better player. I don't think I would be the guy I am today if it was not for that program, I have nothing but good things to say."

With the USNTDP you were able to win the gold medal at World Under 18 Championship. Thoughts....
"It was awesome! It was four-in-a-row for our program, so it was big. We worked two years for that goal, so getting it was awesome."

You were selected by the New York Rangers in the first round of the NHL draft. Personally, what does it mean to be a first rounder?
"It is a dream come true, but it is all about what you do after the draft. I am focused on this year."

Did you pick up any tips at Rangers development camp?
"The coaches taught me some things for sure, but just to experience New York City was a good time."

Best part about being a defenseman is...
"I like taking the puck up the ice and seeing everyone in front of you, that is my favorite part." 

Favorite pregame meal?
"Chicken parmesan for sure."

If you were not playing hockey, what sport would you be playing?
"I would probably play football. My family all played football. My grandpa and uncle played (at Minnesota). I used to be a quarterback in Lakeville, so I would say football."

Kill Previews Saturday's Game Against Northwestern

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Coach Kill met with the media today to preview this weekend's Homecoming game against Northwestern. You can read a few of the highlights from his press conference below. You can also read a transcript of his entire press conference here.

On Northwestern...
"From an offensive standpoint, they're going to spread out the defense and they're going to play two quarterbacks, and they're going to move one all around to make you have a bad mismatch. They're going to play fast. They had 21 points a year ago before we even blinked.  They're going to go.

"Probably the biggest thing is they find a way to get turnovers and make big plays. From the punt return game, I worry about their punt returner. He's taken it to the house two or three times this year already. They seem to when people go down in the red zone, they're always getting the tipped ball, they're always getting the interception, causing the fumble.
   
"You have to beat Northwestern. They're not going to beat themselves."

On MarQueis Gray...
"Well, he didn't practice any during the bye week. We tried to move him around a little bit, but Sunday we did move him around. I pushed him a little bit, and I thought he responded okay.  I think we'll know a little more today. He took some reps. We even did a little bit with team reps, but still has a little bit of a limp. If we were playing tomorrow, he wouldn't be ready to play, but we'll see how things progress. I would say that we're cautiously optimistic that he can be available in some situations possibly."

On other injuries and the bye week...

"We were beat up pretty good going into the game at Iowa. And, you know, hopefully Tommy Olson's going to have an opportunity to practice today. How he'll do, I don't know. But at least we've got him back to where he's practicing.
   
"Zach Mottla is now able to practice full speed, and he hasn't been able to do that. So we've got some people that have healed up a little bit, maybe not completely, but that was more important. The bye week gave us a chance to do that."

On getting back to the fundamentals during the bye week...


"We know what Northwestern is going to do. We know what Iowa's going to do and what Wisconsin's going to do. Sometimes we forget blocking and tackling and using your hands and playing with good technique and having leverage on the ball and those kind of things.
   
"So I think fundamentally, we're not where we need to be fundamentally as a program, because we're playing a lot of young players. The only way you can learn to be fundamentally good is to play games and go through practice."

On the season overall...
"We've been playing pretty good as a team for four games. For one half we didn't play real good as a team."

On only one receiver having caught more than 10 balls this year...

"I don't think you worry about it. You worry about it if you're dropping balls. We didn't catch two or three critical balls in the game, but we had caught them the first four weeks."

On the youth of the Gophers...

"We're playing young players. We've accepted that, and they're playing. They're playing hard.  They want to please. We come up after the game. We don't win the game, and we've got guys up here watching film after they took the flight, and the bus ride, they want to know.  We're not asking them. They want to see. They want to see what went wrong and what could be better. So to me that's a good sign.

"I can tell you, this group of kids, it's not the question that they don't want to do well. They want to do well, and they want to perform. They don't want to let anybody down, so they're working at it.

"They've done everything. It was tough being around me Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, but they want to do well. So if you've got want to, you've got a chance.

"I think they understand where they're at. I think they understand where we're trying to get to.  They understand it's not going to be easy, and they know there are going to be setbacks and people that question and so forth." 

On playing at home...

"When you play at home, you've got to take care of home field. I've always said that. It's an important game because we're on our home field."

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What They're Saying - October 9

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Gophers host Northwestern: Five Things You Need To Know (GopherSports)

Minnesota-Northwestern tickets for just $20 (GopherSports)

Homecoming buttons from the 1930s, 1940s and 1990s (Facebook)

A look at the Gophers through five games (Star Tribune)

Hang out with Coach Kill, former Gophers on Oct. 11 at TCF Bank Stadium (GopherSports)

Check out these awesome fan tailgating videos (GopherSports)

The University of Minnesota men's hockey program has taken sole possession of first place in this week's USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll after sharing the honor with Boston College in the preseason poll. 

The Gophers, who topped Lethbridge 7-0 in exhibition action on Saturday at Mariucci Arena, edged past the defending national champions with 483 votes to Boston College's 482 in this week's poll. Minnesota also picked up 14 first-place votes. 

Minnesota opens the 2012-13 regular season against Michigan State this weekend at Mariucci Arena. The Gophers kick things off at 6 p.m. on Friday before closing out the weekend on Saturday at 8 p.m. 


USA Today / USA Hockey Magazine 2012-13 Men's College Hockey Poll
Week 1 
1University of Minnesota, 483 (14)
1
0-0-0
2
2Boston College, 482 (19)
1
0-0-0
2
3University of Michigan, 429 (1)
3
0-0-0
2
4University of North Dakota, 406
4
0-0-0
2
5Cornell University, 284
6
0-0-0
2
6UMass-Lowell, 263
7
0-0-0
2
7Western Michigan University, 250
11
0-0-0
2
8Miami University, 234
9
0-0-0
2
9Union College, 227
5
0-1-0
2
10University of Denver, 200
8
0-0-0
2
11Ferris State University, 176
14
0-0-0
2
12University of Minnesota Duluth,140
12
0-0-0
2
13University of Notre Dame, 136
10
0-0-0
2
14Boston University, 119
13
0-0-0
2
15University of Wisconsin, 63
15
0-0-0
2


Others receiving votes: Harvard University, 40; Quinnipiac University, 36; Michigan State University, 33; Colorado College, 21; Merrimack College, 26; University of Maine, 13; Ohio State University, 6; St. Cloud State University, 6; University of New Hampshire, 5; United States Air Force Academy, 2

Instant Analysis: Minnesota 7, Lethbridge 0

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Instant Analysis of the Gophers' 7-0 exhibition victory over Lethbridge.

Against Those From the Great White North
The Gophers shutout a Canadian opponent for a third-straight season tonight. They defeated British Columbia by scores of 6-0 and 3-0 the last two seasons. In all three cases, the Gophers thoroughly outplayed and outshot their opposition. Tonight, they outshot the Pronghorns of Lethbridge by a 65-16 margin. The passing was crisp as the Gophers where simply too fast and too sharp for Lethbridge to handle. 

Break Out Night for Isackson
Gopher sophomore Christian Isackson was on the top line tonight with Kyle Rau and Nick Bjugstad. He did not disappoint, tallying a hat trick in the game by the second period. Isackson appeared sparingly as a freshman last season. He got into 11 games, but did not record a point. He showed tonight that he could be a breakout player for Gophers. He adds to the depth of talent in Minnesota's stable.

Sophomore Class
Coach Don Lucia spoke about the importance of the sophomore class on this season at media day. Today, they looked as if they had taken a step from last year. Isackson lead the way, but other members of the class preformed well. Travis Boyd and Ben Marshall each had assists on both of the games' first two goals, which were scored by Isackson. Marshall added a goal of his own, and Sam Warning put up a goal and an assist. 

Gopher Goalies Look Solid
Perhaps the one question mark of the team coming into the year was goaltending. The netminders answered the bell tonight. Both Mike Shibrowski and Adam Wilcox saw around equal time in the game with Wilcox replacing Shibrowski with 10:30 remaining in the second period. Despite neither being tested on a consistent basis, each came up big when called upon. Shibrowski made two nice stops in the second period including a two-on-one, and Adam Wilcox shut the five-hole when Clayton Cumisky found himself wide open in the slot. Shibrowski faced nine shots while Wilcox faced seven. 

Ready To Play for Real
The Gophers have knocked the dust off the skates. After a successful exhibition, the team will turn its attention to the regular season. The first test will be future-Big Ten-rival Michigan State. The Gophers will challenge the Spartans next Friday, October 12, at 6:00 p.m. The two teams will hook up for a second showdown on Saturday at 8:00 p.m. Note the game times with it being Homecoming Weekend on campus.  

-Article written by University of Minnesota student intern Josh Brennock

What They're Saying - October 5

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AUDIO: Miss Coach Kill's weekly radio show? If so, listen to it now (KFAN)

AUDIO: Defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys talked to 1500 ESPN yesterday (1500 ESPN)

Register for the Oct. 11 Buttonhook Social, where you can listen to coach Kill and meet former players (GopherSports)

Former Gopher Marcus Sherels gives his all to the Vikings (ESPNW.com)

Gopher coaches on the recruiting trail (Star Tribune)




Gophers Land Top Spot in WCHA Coaches Poll

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Erik Haula
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The University of Minnesota men's hockey program received another nod of recognition as the 2012-13 season approaches -- the Gophers have been selected to finish first in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association by the league's coaches, according to a preseason poll by the Grand Forks Herald

The Gophers, who open the season with an exhibition against Lethbridge on Saturday, picked up   11 first-place votes and 121 total points in the rankings. North Dakota picked up the remaining first-place vote along with 110 total points while Denver rounded out the top three with 91 total points. 

Junior forward Nick Bjugstad was selected as the Preseason Player of the Year, earning eight votes in the poll. Mark Zengerle of Wisconsin received two votes while UNO's Matt White and St. Cloud State's Ben Hanowski each tallied one vote. 

North Dakota's Rocco Grimaldi was named the Preseason Rookie of the Year with seven votes while Minnesota's Mike Reilly came in second with three. 

42nd Annual Grand Forks Herald Coaches Poll
1. Minnesota 121 (11)
2. North Dakota 110 (1)
3. Denver 91
4. St. Cloud State 90
5. Wisconsin 70
6. Minnesota Duluth 69
7. Colorado College 56
8t. Nebraska Omaha 51
8t. Michigan Tech 51
10. Minnesota State 37
11. Bemidji State 31
12. Alaska Anchorage 15

What They're Saying - October 4

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Have lunch with coach Kill today (FaceBook)

Firm announced to develop a master plan for athletic department facilities (GopherSports)

We love listening to Coach Kill talk. Now you can listen to him in person (GopherSports)

Bye week lets coaches get out and recruit (Star Tribune)

Gophers to work on secondary, plus a Vereen and Shabazz injury update (Pioneer Press)

Defending WCHA Champion Gophers Meet Media Wednesday

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Click here to download the MP3 (audio) version of Gopher Hockey Media Day Live

The No. 1/2 University of Minnesota men's hockey program held its annual preseason press conference on Wednesday afternoon in the Mariucci Arena Club Room.

A year after winning the MacNaughton Cup as the WCHA regular season champs and earning a trip to the program's 20th Frozen Four, the 2012-13 Gophers squad features a number of players with both talent and experience, starting right at the top with the team leadership. 

"Our captains this year all work extremely hard," Minnesota head coach Don Lucia said. "When your best players are hard workers, I think that is when you can have good teams."

Junior Zach Budish will step into the captaincy, taking the place of graduated forward Taylor Matson -- one of the hardest workers in Gopher history. Senior Seth Helgeson and junior Nick Bjugstad will serve as alternate captains. 

"(Being a captain) is a big honor because I grew up a Gopher fan," Budish said on Wednesday. "I idolized some of the captains of the past, so to be voted captain by my teammates is a great honor."

One of the perceived strengths of this year's squad is its depth, especially on the blue line with nine defensemen on roster including all six regular starters from last season. Up front, the team returns seven of their top nine forwards from last season's MacNaughton Cup championship team. 

"This is the most talented team I have played with," Nate Schmidt, last year's breakout defenseman said. "Time will tell, but I think we have a good base to build on."

Bjugstad, who was named the WCHA Preseason Player of the Year last week, echoed his teammate's words.

"It is one of the tighter knit groups I have been a part of playing hockey," the junior forward said. "I think we really enjoy each other, and that will be a benefit on the ice."

With only one senior on this year's roster (Helgeson), the Gophers will be young although the team's experience last season will undoubtedly be a benefit for those returning. Lucia hopes to see this year's sophomore class pick their game up similar to the jump made by this year's junior class last season. 

"(The sophomores) will have to take a step in their development. They are going to have to make a step in their contributions from an offensive standpoint," Lucia said. "If they are able to do that, it will provide us with great balance up front."

Lucia also spoke fondly of the team's final WCHA run - calling this season "bittersweet." The Gophers program, which jumps to the Big Ten Conference next year, was a founding member of the WCHA in 1951, and on Wednesday, Helgeson noted how important the team's final trek through the league schedule would be. 

 "(It's) definitely important," Helgeson said. "It's a time to make a statement, and go after those teams one last time."

Minnesota opens the 2012-13 season with an exhibition game against Lethbridge on Saturday at Mariucci Arena. The Gophers kick off the regular season on Oct. 12 at home against Michigan State. 

-Article written by Minnesota student intern Josh Brennock

Minnesota Women's Basketball Guide to October

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The month of October is a busy one for the University of Minnesota women's basketball team. From opening the month with their first day of practice to ending it with their first exhibition game, the Gophers' preseason is jam-packed with events and activities. How can fans keep up with all things women's basketball? Here is a Gopher fan guide to October, which will outline all the happenings you should be looking out for!

Printable October Calendar Get Acrobat Reader

Oct. 1 - First Day of Practice: The Gophers started the month off in impressive fashion. Check out the coverage from the team's first official practice here.

Oct. 6 - Team Photo Day: Pam Borton and her squad smile for the cameras as they take their annual team picture. Look for it in the lobby of Williams Arena on game days and log on to Gophersports.com to get a behind-the-scenes look of the day.

Oct. 11 - Season Ticket Delivery: Fans should make sure to stick close to their doors on Thursday, as members of the women's basketball team will be hand-delivering tickets to select 2012-13 season-ticket holders between 4:00-6:00 p.m. Will you be one of the lucky few that is randomly selected?  

Oct. 12 - Media Day: Members of the media gather at The Barn to get insight on the 2012-13 Golden Gophers and attend Coach Borton's press conference. Tune into Gophersports.com as Mike Grimm and Corbu Stathes host Media Day Live from 3:30-4:00 p.m.

Oct. 12 - Homecoming Parade: Once you're done watching Media Day Live, head over to campus to wave at Pam Borton and Tubby Smith as they take part in the Homecoming Parade.

Oct. 12 - Gopher All-Star Friday Night: Make the short walk over to Williams Arena at 7:00 p.m. for Gopher All-Star Friday Night! Serving as the official tip off to the 2012-13 season, Gopher All-Star Friday Night will feature both the men's and women's basketball teams for the first time. Get autographs from your favorite players early in the night, before sitting down to some Gopher basketball action. The Gopher women will be introduced on the court and select players will also be paired up with men's players for a two-ball shooting competition. Once the night's activities come to a close, stick around to get an autograph from Coach Borton and Coach Smith.

Oct. 13 - Open Practice: The Minnesota women's basketball team invites fans to its morning practice which will run from 8:30-10:30 a.m. at the Sports Pavilion. Complimentary coffee, juice and bagels will be served. Parking will be available on the East Bank in Lot C79 and the East River Road parking garage. In St. Paul, parking is available at the fairgrounds with a complimentary shuttle to campus. | Printable Flyer Get Acrobat Reader

Oct. 25 - Big Ten Media Day: Head coach Pam Borton and select players will make the trip to Chicago for the annual Big Ten Conference Media Day, where they will meet with local, regional and national media members. Check out highlights from last year's B1G Media Day here.

Oct. 29 - Tip-Off Dinner: Join Coach Borton, her staff and fellow Gopher fans at Crave at the Galleria for a four-course meal and great company prior to the start of the season. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. with dinner scheduled to be served at 6:30 p.m. The cost is $40 per person and registration is due by Oct. 22. | Printable Flyer Get Acrobat Reader

Oct. 31 - Exhibition vs. Concordia, St. Paul: The 2012-13 Golden Gophers will be in action for the first time when they take on the Golden Bears in a 7:00 p.m. matchup at Williams Arena. Minnesota finished last season with a 19-17 overall record and a 6-10 Big Ten Conference record, while Concordia, St. Paul concluded the year with an 11-17 overall mark and a 8-14 Northern Sun Conference clip. | Complete 2012-13 Schedule.

Buttonhook Social Scheduled For Oct. 11

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Register for the Oct. 11 Buttonhook Social

The Goal Line Club, which is the official booster club of Minnesota Golden Gopher Football, will be hosting a Buttonhook Social from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 11, in the Indoor Club Room at TCF Bank Stadium.

The two-hour social event will be highlighted by a visit and speech from Coach Kill, who will preview the Northwestern game and share insight about the current state of the team. Former Gophers are also scheduled to attend the emceed event, which will also feature heavy appetizers and a cash bar.

Those wishing to attend can register here. The cost for attending is free for Goal Line Club Gold members and $20 for Maroon members. The fee for non members to attend is $25.

Attendees may enter TCF Bank Stadium through the Benton County doors. Parking is available next to TCF Bank Stadium in the Maroon Lot or in the Gopher Lot at regular rates.

Names of registered attendees will be placed on a guest list when you register online. Tickets will not be distributed for the event.
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Press Release: Gophers Announce 2012 All Star Friday Night Details


Come out to Williams Arena on Friday, Oct. 12 for the 2012 Gopher Basketball All-Star Friday Night!

As you enter the arena, register to win a trip for 2 to the 2012 Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas.

One randomly selected winner will receive airfare for 2, hotel accommodations for 4 nights at Atlantis Paradise Island, tickets to the 2012 Battle for Atlantis tournament and more!

Register to win boxes and entrance slips will be available around the arena's concourse. Other prizes will be given away throughout the evening, including restaurant gift cards, Gopher apparel, an Apple iPad and more!

The Battle 4 Atlantis grand prize will be given away before the Men's Basketball Scrimmage and you must be present to win.

What They're Saying - October 3

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Asad Abdul-Khaliq is doing good things in his native New Jersey (Minnesota Daily)

Bye week comes at a good time (FSN)

Safety play is a point of emphasis during the bye week (1500 ESPN)

Kill evaluates the three INTs last Saturday (Pioneer Press)

A look to the future (Daily Gopher)

Gopher Hockey Live Chat Set for Media Day

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Join us today at 12:55 p.m. as Wally Shaver and Frank Mazzocco of the Gopher Radio Network host a live video chat with head coach Don Lucia and select players during Media Day in the Mariucci Arena Club Room. 

Wally and Frank will also be joined by team captain Zach Budish, assistant captains Seth Helgeson and Nick Bjugstad and junior defenseman Nate Schmidt on the live chat. 
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Don Lucia
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Fans can join in on the action by sending Wally and Frank your questions via the live chat feature on our Media Day Live page or by using the hashtags #Gophers or #PrideonIce. 

Media members interested in attending tomorrow's event are encouraged to contact men's hockey SID Brian Deutsch (deuts060@umn.edu). Head coach Don Lucia will open the event with a press conference starting at 12:30 with select players following in the Mariucci Arena Club Room. Additional interview requests must be coordinated with the athletic communications office. 

Media Day Live Guest Schedule:

12:55-1:00 p.m.: Wally Shaver Introduction
1:00-1:05: Don Lucia
1:05-1:10: Nate Schmidt
1:10-1:15: Nick Bjugstad
1:15-1:20: Zach Budish
1:20-1:25: Seth Helgeson

What They're Saying - October 2

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Tyrone Carter wants to go into coaching (Minnesota Daily)

Bye weeks comes at a good time (Minnesota Daily)

Kill thought about doing something on Uncommon last Saturday (Star Tribune)

Decker, Sherels shined on Sunday (GopherSports)

Why do U athletes have such good smiles? The School of Dentistry is a big reason (UNN.edu)

It's Official! Basketball Season is Finally Here

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Photo Gallery

After weeks of individual practices and months of anticipation, the University of Minnesota women's basketball team officially opened the 2012-13 season with its first team practice of the year at Williams Arena Monday afternoon.

"It felt great to finally get everyone out on the court together," head coach Pam Borton said. "The team's work ethic was impressive and the players were supportive and encouraging toward one another. We have a very young team this sesason, but I thought that our freshmen did extremely well for their first practice." 

Borton, who is now in her 11th season as the Golden Gophers' head coach, had her squad on the floor beginning at 12 p.m., with her and her coaching staff putting the team through an intense workout of drills and technical work.

"There were a lot of nerves and adrenaline going, but it was a great first day of practice," freshman Shayne Mullaney said. "I have been looking forward to this day for a while, so it was fun for it to actually be here."

Minnesota is only 30 days away from its first exhibition contest vs. Concordia, St. Paul, which is scheduled for Oct. 31 at 7:00 p.m., and only 40 days out from its season and home opener vs. Washington State on Nov. 10 at 12:00 p.m., which is part of the Best Buy Classic.

Fans will have an opportunity to get their first glimpse at the 2012-13 Gophers on Friday, Oct. 12, when they take part in Gopher All-Star Friday Night in conjuntion with the Minnesota men's basketball team. Doors will open at 7:00 p.m. for the event, which will be held at Williams Arena.

There is still time to get your season tickets for the year by calling the University of Minnesota Ticket Office at 612.624.8080 or 1.800.UGOPHER.

Decker, Sherels Shine on Sunday

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Former Gophers Marcus Sherels and Eric Decker each performed well yesterday as their respective NFL teams posted wins.

Sherels returned a punt 77 yards for a touchdown as he helped the Minnesota Vikings win 20-13 at Detroit. Sherels and the Vikings are 3-1 this year.

Decker hauled in seven passes for 79 yards and one touchdown and Denver routed rival Oakland, 37-6. Decker has made 24 catches this year for 322 yards and one score for the 2-2 Broncos.

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What They're Saying - October 1

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Kill want to have options (Star Tribune)

There are positives to be taken from the loss (Sid)

Off week should help Gophers get healthy (Pioneer Press)

Minnesota going through a learning process (Star Tribune)

Will loss serve as a wake-up call? (1500 ESPN)

Breaking down the game film (1500 ESPN)