Gophers dedicate win to Tow-Arnett

Also, Adam Weber moves into second on the Gophers all-time yardage list.

by Austin Cumblad

Senior linebacker Lee Campbell intercepted a pass at a crucial juncture in the second quarter and blocked a field goal that was returned for a touchdown in the third quarter. Freshman running back Kevin Whaley rushed eight times for 79 yards âÄî both career highs âÄî and scored his first collegiate touchdown . Yet for the Gophers, the most important player in SaturdayâÄôs 35-20 win over Purdue never set foot on the field. A week ago, senior center Jeff Tow-Arnett sustained a season-ending leg injury during MinnesotaâÄôs 31-28 loss to Wisconsin. He had surgery on Tuesday. On Saturday, the Gophers dedicated their homecoming victory to the senior. âÄúWe had a wounded soldier on our football team,âÄù head coach Tim Brewster said. âÄúIt was fun to give Jeff Tow-Arnett the game ball after the game.âÄù Though he missed three games, Tow-Arnett played most of the 2008 season with a torn ACL before having surgery to repair the knee between the regular season and MinnesotaâÄôs Insight Bowl appearance . He worked back into the starting lineup this year and led an offensive line that, despite some struggles, seemed to be progressing each week. Now he likely will never play in a Gophers uniform again, a sobering notion for Campbell. âÄúBeing a senior, I realize I only have six games left, so to be in Jeff Tow-ArnettâÄôs shoes, and to know that possibly he could be done playing football for the rest of his life with that injury, itâÄôs disheartening,âÄù Campbell said. âÄúTo see the look on his face and know that he couldnâÄôt play, it meant the world for the rest of this team to get the win.âÄù Weber moves closer to more Minn. history By statistical measures, it was the most nondescript game of junior quarterback Adam WeberâÄôs tenure at Minnesota. Nine attempts, five completions, 74 yards âÄî all career lows . The majority of those yards came from one 47-yard completion to wide receiver Eric Decker. Two of his incompletions were intercepted . âÄúThe lack of consistency in the passing game falls on my shoulders, just not having a very focused game,âÄù Weber said. But the lack of focus didnâÄôt stop Weber from taking another step toward becoming the GophersâÄô all-time leading passer. That 47-yard connection with Decker moved Weber past Cory Sauter (1994-97) and into second on MinnesotaâÄôs career passing yardage list. Now at 6,880, Weber is just 566 yards shy of Bryan CupitoâÄôs all-time mark . He already holds career records in completions and attempts and is 11 touchdowns shy of CupitoâÄôs touchdown pass record . The run game took the pressure off of Weber thanks to 207 yards split mostly between redshirt freshman Kevin Whaley and sophomores Deleon Eskridge and Duane Bennett . It was the GophersâÄô best rushing performance since piling up 239 yards against Northwestern on Oct. 13, 2007 . Freshman quarterback MarQueis Gray attempted one pass, the first of his career, meaning Minnesota attempted just 10 passes compared to 44 rushing attempts . Brewster said he has no problem with that run-pass ratio if it continues to be successful. âÄúWe won 35-20 and we threw the ball 10 times and completed five of them. IâÄôll do it again next week.âÄù