Mason says he’s sticking with Cupito as Gophers’ starting signal-caller

Aaron Blake

Minnesota football coach Glen Mason stuck by quarterback Bryan Cupito during his Tuesday press conference, saying the sophomore will remain the starter despite recent struggles.

Cupito has not completed more than 50 percent of his passes in his last five games. Over that span, he is 48-for-124 for 909 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions.

“It’s clear-cut in my mind that Bryan Cupito gives us the best opportunity to run our offense,” Mason said.

Cupito talked to the media Tuesday after declining comment following Saturday’s 30-21 loss to Indiana.

He said his early second-quarter interception with Minnesota (6-3, 3-3 Big Ten) leading 14-0 was a “terrible decision.”

The Hoosiers’ Will Lumpkin returned the pick for a touchdown that started Indiana on a 30-7 run, and

Cupito led the offense to just six yards in the fourth quarter as the Gophers tried to mount a comeback.

Mason echoed Cupito’s sentiments about the play and said it was a “bad decision” that every quarterback makes occasionally – especially young ones.

He said he hasn’t thought about starting anybody else at quarterback.

“That loss shouldn’t go on his shoulders,” Mason said, “because there were a number of other times where he did his part and somebody else didn’t do their part, and you come up short.”

Stanton to miss time

Michigan State football coach John L. Smith said sophomore quarterback Drew Stanton might not play again this season after separating his right shoulder Saturday in the first half of the Spartans’ 45-37 triple-overtime loss to Michigan.

On Tuesday, Smith brought up the possibility of surgery.

Stanton leads the team in both rushing and passing yards, with 534 and 1,138, respectively. He has run for five touchdowns and thrown six more, while leading Michigan State (4-4, 3-2) to a surprising 3-1 start in the Big Ten that included a 51-17 thrashing of Minnesota on Oct. 16.

Damon Dowdell replaced Stanton against the Wolverines and said he figures he will get another shot Saturday against Ohio State.

“It’s a loss for us without a doubt,” Smith said. “(Stanton)’s been a leader and sparked us. But that’s football. Guys are going to have to step up and play.”

Purdue’s fall from grace

The Gophers aren’t the only Big Ten team to have a good season turn disastrous.

Three weeks ago, Purdue (5-3, 2-3) was undefeated and ranked fifth, and Kyle Orton looked like the early Heisman Trophy favorite.

After consecutive losses to Wisconsin, Michigan and Northwestern – all by a field goal or less – the Boilermakers are about as close to being undefeated as a 5-3 team can be.

To top it off, Orton sat out part of the game against the Wildcats and is practicing lightly with a hip pointer and a hip flexor.

Purdue coach Joe Tiller said Orton is taking 50 percent of the snaps in practice, with the other 50 percent going to Brandon Kirsch.