Spread offense helps a pair of Gophers to school records

Adam Weber and Eric Decker both modified school history this season on offense.

by Luke Middendorf

Although the spread offense did not bring many victories in its first season at Minnesota, it did help produce two record-breaking seasons.

Freshman quarterback Adam Weber and sophomore wide receiver Eric Decker created a deadly combo in their first season working together, both helping each other to make their ways into the Gophers’ record books.

On Saturday, Weber broke Bryan Cupito’s single-season touchdown record of 22 by tossing three touchdowns, giving him 24 on the season. Decker caught nine of those record-breaking endzone tosses this season.

Weber also collected the single-season record for passing yards with 2,895. The freshman already owned the seasonal record for pass completions (258), pass attempts (449) and total offense (3,512).

He also became the first quarterback to lead the Gophers in rushing yardage (724) since Rickey Foggie in 1984.

Decker helped Weber out this season by breaking his own single-season record, hauling in 67 receptions to break Tutu Atwell’s record of 62 in 1996.

“It’s an honor,” Decker said of the record. “It really hasn’t sunk in yet Ö but the spread offense gives receivers an advantage to break something like this.”

One of the best

Senior wide receiver Ernie Wheelwright ended his Gophers career with a bang on Saturday, hauling in seven catches for 92 yards in his final collegiate game.

Wheelwright finishes third all-time in career receiving yards (2,434), second all-time in career receptions (163), second all-time in career touchdown catches (26) and fourth with six career 100-yard receiving games.

Wheelwright and Decker’s 18 combined touchdowns and 133 combined catches are the most ever by a Minnesota receiving duo.

The oldest rivalry

Saturday’s game marked the 117th meeting between Minnesota and Wisconsin, the most-played rivalry in the Football Championship Subdivision.

Although the Badgers have won the last four meetings, the Gophers lead the all-time series 59-50-8.