Andy Greder / St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS — The Vikings' defense might still be taking heat for blowing a 17-0 halftime lead if not for Stefon Diggs' miraculous, game-winning touchdown in Sunday's NFC divisional playoff game against the New Orleans Saints. Diggs' 61-yard reception from Case Keenum marked the first time an NFL playoff game had ended on a touchdown in regulation and propelled the Vikings into Sunday's NFC championship game Sunday at Philadelphia.
MINNEAPOLIS — Saints safety Marcus Williams buried his head in a white towel inside the New Orleans locker room after he gave up the game-winning touchdown in the Vikings' stunning 29-24 victory Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium. Saints teammates initially tried to protect Williams from the media throng, telling reporters he wasn't going to speak after the NFC divisional round playoff game. Minutes later, the red-eyed rookie turned around and tried to explain how he whiffed on a tackle that sprung Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs down the sideline on a 61-yard score as time expired.
MINNEAPOLIS—After starting the final six games this season, Minnesota quarterback Demry Croft will leave the football program, a school official said Sunday night, Nov. 26. "Demry asked Coach (P.J.) Fleck for his release after (Saturday's) game, and coach will grant him that release," spokesman Paul Rovnak texted the Pioneer Press. Croft made his request once the Gophers lost 31-0 to fifth-ranked Wisconsin in the battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe at TCF Bank Stadium. Croft, who has two years of eligibility remaining, could seek a transfer to another school.
MINNEAPOLIS — While it remained a chance throughout November, the Gophers were officially eliminated from a bowl game on Saturday evening, Nov. 25. For Minnesota, it took more than just the 31-0 loss to Wisconsin on Saturday, which finalized being one win short of bowl eligibility in a 5-7 season. "We were one game away from bowl eligibility," Gophers coach P.J. Fleck said. "There (are) no moral victories. It's unacceptable, but we are exactly where we are. We got exactly what our work deserves."
EVANSTON, Ill. — The Gophers' best Big Ten road record has been accumulated at Northwestern, but Ryan Field has been a house of horrid play for the Minnesota football team in their two previous visits. In October 2015, the Gophers suffered their last shutout, 27-0, amid a 5-7 season. On Saturday, Nov. 18, Minnesota was marred by turnovers and plummeted in a 39-0 loss to the No. 23 Wildcats, falling to 5-6 with a rivalry game remaining against undefeated and fifth-ranked Wisconsin next Saturday, Sept. 25.
MINNEAPOLIS—Running back Ty Johnson's 34-yard touchdown run with 1:10 remaining gave Maryland a 31-24 victory over Minnesota on Saturday, Sept. 23, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Third-string quarterback Max Bortenschlager, pressed into action after Tyrrell Pigrome and Kasim Hill sustained season-ending ACL injuries earlier this year, finished 18 of 28 for 154 yards and two touchdown passes for the Terrapins (3-1, 1-0 Big Ten). Johnson gained 130 yards on 18 carries.
MINNEAPOLIS — Three of the four Gophers football players facing expulsion from the University of Minnesota have either transferred or left the U. Sophomore cornerback Ray Buford and freshman defensive end Tamarion Johnson announced they will transfer to Arizona Western Community College. Sophomore safety Dior Johnson is no longer enrolled at the U, according to the school's registrar's office. He also has been removed from the Gophers roster posted online.
Univ. of Minnesota football team to resume Holiday Bowl prep; punished players to get new hearing after game