March 16, 2013
Final Stats (PDF)
Earlier this week Minnesota head coach Mike Burns told his team to think about its upcoming bus ride home from Lincoln, Neb., after facing the Huskers and Iowa. He told them the bus ride could either be a joyous one after a win or could be a long, thought-provoking ride after a loss.
Minnesota will have a fun bus ride on Sunday, as the Gophers turned in a strong road performance to beat Nebraska and Iowa. The Gophers recorded a strong team score of 430.300 to beat two big rivals in the Huskers (427.700) and Hawkeyes (426.300).
“We talked a lot about how these two teams were going to be coming after us,” said Burns, who saw his Gophers improve to 2-0 against Nebraska this year and 2-1 against Iowa. “We had to be ready to do some serious battle with them. Both these teams wanted to take it to us. Last year, we came out here and struggled a little and Nebraska beat us. Today, it was really good competition. I think Nebraska had their high score of the year and Iowa had a really good score too. It will be a much better bus ride home tomorrow.”
Minnesota has struggled on the road this year and Burns wanted to see his team put together a consistent meet away from home. The Gophers 430.300 was their fourth-best output this year and its second-best road score (435.450 at Oklahoma). Minnesota’s previous two road outings resulted in scores of 420.650 and 419.200.
“We got the road performance we were looking for,” said Burns. “The guys stepped up and took care of business. It was tight during the course of the meet, but our guys got it done.”
Burns said he counted only 2.5 missed routines today, as the team was consistent throughout the competition. Despite the solid effort, one again Ellis Mannon and Steve Jaciuk stood out for the Gophers.
Mannon, who is tied for No. 4 in the nation on the pommel horse, recorded a career-high of 15.400 to win the event. He has scored 15.000 four times this year and has now surpassed the mark in each of the last three meets. Mannon powered the Gophers to a 72.300 on the pommel horse, which was a season high. The Gophers’ previous best score on the event was a 71.400 on March 2 against Iowa.
“That was awesome,” said Burns. “The guys stepped up big time from beginning to end. Ellis stepped up big time and had a great routine.”
Jaciuk, who is ranked No. 9 on parallel bars, turned in a career-high 15.450 to win the event. It was the third time this year that Jaciuk has eclipsed the 15.000 mark on parallel bars. Jaciuk also tied Jack Metcalf (14.700) for Minnesota’s best score on the still rings.
“It was the last routine of the meet and we knew it was tight,” said Burns. ‘Nebraska was on high bar and getting some good scores and it looked like it was going to come down to the wire. But then Steve just totally stepped up and knocked out a great routine and stuck his dismount. The team went berserk. It was great.”
Minnesota returns to the Sports Pavilion for Senior Night when it hosts No. 1 Penn State at 5 p.m. on March 23.
“We have to start preparing for them,” said Burns, who is a 1981 Penn State graduate. “The best preparation will be having a good week of training and then going out and doing the best that we can do.”