Gophers haven’t forgotten last year's 2-point conversion
By: By Marcus R. Fuller, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Superior Telegram
Gophers football coach Jerry Kill said his players haven’t forgotten last year’s two-point conversion that Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema tried with a 25-point lead against Minnesota in the fourth quarter.
Kill didn’t say if he would use that play as motivation for the Gophers (2-7, 1-4 Big Ten) when they play host to the No. 16 Badgers (7-2, 3-2) on Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium.
“They know about it,” Kill said today. “They’ve heard enough about it.”
After the Gophers’ 41-23 loss in Madison, last season, Bielema denied trying to run up the score against former coach Tim Brewster, who was livid and shoved Bielema’s hand away during the postgame handshake at midfield.
Brewster said after the game, “I thought it was a very poor decision by a head football coach. And he’ll have to live with that.”
Some of Minnesota’s current players haven’t forgotten how upset they were when it happened.
Sophomore cornerback Brock Vereen said “absolutely” when asked if last year’s two-point conversion still bothers him.
“For me, I’ve only played (Wisconsin) once,” Vereen said, “so that’s all I’m thinking about.”
Senior center Ryan Wynn said looking back on it, he didn’t care as much about the two-point conversion at the time because the Gophers didn’t come away with Paul Bunyan’s Axe. The Gophers haven’t beaten the Badgers since a 37-34 victory at the Metrodome in 2003.
“But any time they’re running up the score like that, it’s just not right,” Wynn said.
“There is some etiquette to college football. I didn’t agree with that.”
Change for Gray: Junior quarterback MarQueis Gray had a career game in last week’s 31-24 loss at Michigan State with 295 yards passing and three touchdowns.
Kill said Gray is getting the ball out of his hands quicker, and the Gophers gradually have changed the way the offensive line has blocked to give Gray better protection.
“If MarQueis doesn’t have more time, he’s not going to complete anything,” Kill said. “I think early in the year he had a lot of people in his face.”
Briefly: Kill said freshman wide receiver Devin Crawford-Tufts practiced Tuesday despite injuring his quadriceps against Michigan State. Crawford-Tufts has seven catches for 153 yards this season.
— Copyright (c) 2011 the St. Paul Pioneer Press/Distributed by MCT Information Services