EVANSTON, Ill., – From playmaker to recordbreaker, Gophers receiver Ron Johnson might be called every nickname possible by the end of this, his senior season.
On a gloomy day – both weather and score wise – near Lake Michigan, Johnson was one of few bright spots for the Gophers.
With three receptions in the 23-17 loss to the Wildcats, the 6-foot-3 wideout broke the school’s record for catches with 172. Appropriately, the 172nd was a touchdown – Johnson also holds the school record for touchdown receptions with 25.
“I didn’t even think about it,” the always modest Johnson said. “I had no idea how many catches I had. Once we lost, that was the only thing I was thinking about.”
Johnson is just 162 receiving yards from breaking a third Minnesota record. With three straight home games on the schedule, he’ll likely complete the hat trick at the Metrodome.
Freshman linebacker Bradley Vance continues to be an impressive addition to the Gophers defense.
Against Northwestern Vance had two sacks, five tackles and a pass deflection. The pair of sacks tied him for the team lead with Greg White. Both have two.
“I think I was well prepared,” Vance said of facing a tough Wildcat offense. “I just read my keys from (linebacker) coach (Greg) Hudson.”
Also playing well against Northwestern was defensive end Astein Osei, who had his first career interception to go along with tackle for a loss and a pair of pass deflections.
Back in a groove?
Junior Dan Nystrom is five for five on kicks since beginning work with wide receiver coach Richard Wilson.
After nailing two extra points last week at Illinois, Nystrom hit two more against the Wildcats, as well as a 25-yard field goal.
Stat of the day
Northwestern score keepers credited Minnesota receiver Junior Eugene with a 15-yard catch in the fourth quarter.
Funny, Eugene, a freshman, is being redshirted this season and didn’t even make the trip to Chicago’s northside.
On Sunday, Minnesota scorekeepers changed the call and credited running back Tellis Redmon with the catch.
John R. Carter covers football and
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