Gophers' junior wide receiver Da'Jon McKnight continued to prove how valuable he his to the Minnesota receiving corps as he set several career-highs in Saturday's loss to Penn State.
McKnight led the Gophers in receiving with eight catches for 103 yards and three touchdowns. The reception and touchdown numbers were both career bests for McKnight.
However, the big numbers are only bittersweet to McKnight as they came in a losing effort.
"I'm just trying to help my team win," McKnight said. "I'm just trying to play my hardest and obviously we're not coming out with the win. I have to try harder in practice and to finish the games."
Despite downplaying his own impact, recent numbers continue to suggest McKnight is developing into a go-to receiver for the Gophers' offense.
"The plays Da'Jon is making in practice every day and out there on the field in games are amazing," Gopher quarterback Adam Weber said. "I think he's one of the best wide receivers in the Big Ten."
Others feel McKnight is in that upper echelon in the conference as well. Phil Steele released his mid-season All-Big Ten teams prior to this week's game. McKnight was listed as a third-team All-Big Ten selection by the preseason magazine publisher.
McKnight's three touchdown receptions today marked the first time a Minnesota receiver has achieved that mark in one game since Ernie Wheelwright had three scores against Northwestern on Oct. 13, 2007. McKnight now has a total of nine scores through just seven games this season, putting him in a tie for the No. 3 spot on Minnesota's single-season chart. Ron Johnson (2000) and Omar Douglas (1993) are tied for the school record with 11.
McKnight has also now tallied a touchdown reception in five of the past six games and has had at least one catch in 13 consecutive games.
The Weber-to-McKnight combination was a key component of a Gophers' offense that was successful at moving the ball against the Nittany Lions defense, amassing 433 total yards, including 299 through the air. The total offense mark was the second-most allowed by a Penn State defense this season.
- Keith Beise, Athletic Communications Assistant
Game 1: Oregon State at Minnesota
Minnesota kicks off the 2016 season at 8 p.m. on Thursday against Oregon State. The game can be seen on Big Ten Network and heard on KOOL 108.
What They're Saying: Aug. 25, 2016
There is plenty to talk about with the Gophers season opener just one week away.
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