Winning in a trophy game had been a long time coming for every member of the University of Minnesota football team, but maybe none moreso than senior quarterback Adam Weber.
Weber took over as the Gophers starting quarterback in 2007 after redshirting his freshman season. Yet despite a long and distinguished career that saw him break most Minnesota quarterback career records and pass for the third-most yards in Big Ten history, one thing Weber was never able to claim was a trophy.
That all changed on Saturday as Weber, in his 50th consecutive -- and final -- start as the signal-caller for the Gophers led his team to a 27-24 victory over Iowa at TCF Bank Stadium to claim the Floyd of Rosedale trophy.
"I'm really excited for Adam Weber. He's much-maligned, but I think he's a tremendous football player," interim head coach Jeff Horton said. "He epitomizes what we want this program to stand for. It isn't just all about wins and losses. It's about what kind of people we are and what kind of people we produce. I know whatever he goes on to do, he'll be successful. People are going to miss him around here. He's a special player."
It seemed like a storybook finish for Weber as he led the Gophers on a late scoring drive to give his team a comeback victory, much as he did in the previous game against Illinois.
Saturday night, Weber and the offense took the field with 7:36 remaining in the fourth quarter. He marched the Gophers down the field for 77 yards in just six plays. The drive included Weber connecting with MarQueis Gray for 19 yards on the first play and then Da'Jon McKnight for 40 yards. The scoring drive finished with Duane Bennett rushing it six yards into the end zone.
A few minutes later, the Gophers were able to run out the clock to seal the win.
Then Weber, for the first time in his career, got to lead the charge to the opposing sideline to claim one of the four trophies the Gophers vie for each season. After lifting the pig in victory, Weber was lifted himself as he was swarmed by a group a fans cheering his name and carrying him around the field on their shoulders in an absolute bedlam scene on the playing field.
After the game, a still awestruck Weber talked about what it meant for him to be experience all that.
"That was nice, you only can dream and imagine things like that," Weber said. "I've seen it before on TV and to finally be a part of it was really something special. I'm still kind of floating right now I feel like. It has been a wild ride and if there is any way to go out that would be it."
Weber also noted that victory became even more emotional given that it would be his last game in a Gophers uniform, a realization that is continuing to sink in for him, but feels a lot better being able to leave on such a positive note.
"I never won a trophy game so it's really big," Weber said. "It's kind of bittersweet sitting in that locker room. Everyone's celebrating but then I realize I have to take off pads for the last time. So it's very bittersweet but I love seeing our team celebrate, have that pig and know that all these guys who are coming back next year, every time they walk by into our complex they'll have that pig in that trophy room and that means a lot."
- By Athletic Communications Assistant Keith Beise
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