Minnesota’s offense still stagnate

Tyler Rushmeyer

For the second consecutive week, Minnesota’s offense was ineffective, inefficient and downright bad, failing to move the ball against a Division I-AA opponent.

The Gophers finished with less than 300 yards for the second straight game. Before last week’s contest against Wisconsin, Minnesota had amassed 300-plus yards in 44 of its previous 45 contests.

But the last two weeks have seen the Gophers finish with 200 and 249 total yards against Wisconsin and North Dakota State, respectively.

Senior quarterback Bryan Cupito said it has been a frustrating two-week period for the offensive unit.

“We’re practicing well. We have the same players. We’re just not executing,” he said. “Every play, something seems to go wrong.”

Quote of the Game

“That’s what we gotta do is play defense. So when it’s the time we get called on, you just go play D, that’s all it is.”
– # 15 Jamal Jarris
junior defensive back

The poor efficiency and execution was clear in Saturday’s contest, one that saw the Gophers convert just 4-of-13 third-down conversions. Cupito finished 14-of-24 for 150 yards.

The only offensive player to put up decent numbers was junior running back Amir Pinnix, who finished with 97 yards on 25 attempts.

“It’s not the play calling,” Pinnix said. “It’s just the execution.”

And that is something the offense has failed to do in its last two contests.

It got so bad that coach Glen Mason switched to a no-huddle scheme in the fourth quarter.

“I was tired of watching the crap I was watching out there,” Mason said. “Our offense looked very lethargic. Sometimes you don’t know if it’s what you’re doing or what they’re doing or a combination of both, but we just weren’t moving the ball.”

Cupito said he knows that will have to change if the Gophers expect to have a chance against Ohio State next weekend.

“The last two weeks we’ve just kind of fell apart,” he said. “But we better get it back together before next week or it’s going to be ugly.”

Minnesota natives

North Dakota State has more than its fair share of Minnesota natives suiting up for the Bison on Saturdays.

This year’s roster includes 34 Minnesota natives, or 40 percent of the 81 total players. In comparison, their roster includes just 18 players from their own state.

Cedar native Travis White had an impressive performance Saturday, finishing with six receptions for 82 yards. The senior wide receiver also finished with four punt returns for 54 yards.

Junior wide receiver John Majeski, a Hastings native, finished with two kick returns for 72 yards, while freshman kicker Shawn Bibeau of White Bear Lake finished the day 3-of-5 on field goal attempts, connecting on kicks of 30, 39 and 42 yards.

Streak continues

The Gophers prove to be a formidable opponent when Minnesota’s defense shows up to play.

With Saturday’s victory, Minnesota has now won 35 consecutive games when the Gophers hold their opponents to 20 or fewer points.

Mason improves record

Playing weak nonconference opponents has many advantages, one of which is résumé building.

Saturday’s victory over North Dakota State brought Glen Mason’s home record against nonconference opponents to 21-2 and 29-4 overall.

It was also the 14th consecutive home nonconference win for Mason.

Kucek impressive

Sophomore punter Justin Kucek has been busy over the past couple of weeks as the offense has continued to struggle.

He put together an impressive performance Saturday, finishing the day with five punts for 238 yards for an average of 47.6 yards per kick.