After Croft’s performance against Illinois, Fleck goes back to co-starters

Fleck enjoys the rivalry, tradition of having two quarterbacks start the game.

Quaterback Demry Croft gets tripped up at the homecoming game against Illinois at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 21.

Max Ostenso

Quaterback Demry Croft gets tripped up at the homecoming game against Illinois at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 21.

Drew Cove

Yet again, the quarterback situation is up in the air for Minnesota.

The Gophers (4-3, 1-3 Big Ten) had 24 points in its victory against Illinois. Quarterback Demry Croft had only one touchdown pass in his first collegiate start, and two interceptions.

“I think that was my fault last week,” said head coach P.J. Fleck. “Maybe I took for granted the 10 minutes he played [against] Michigan State, like we all did, we all went ‘holy cow.’ When a kid doesn’t have success in his first true start, I take that personally, and I’ve got to be better at getting him prepared.”

Croft completed only 33 percent of his passes last game, and threw for 47 yards and one touchdown, plus two interceptions.

The depth chart for Minnesota this week has the starting quarterbacks listed as Croft or quarterback Conor Rhoda, reverting back to the depth chart for the first two games of the season.

Fleck mentioned relying on one back too much can wear them down, and the potential for injury.

“We’ve seen what happens when you carry it 25 times a game in this league, right?” Fleck said. “Rodney’s been out, Shannon’s been out, and if you only have one back you can count on, think of how many games we’d have [to be] on the next back … we’d probably be on our fifth or sixth back by now.”

In both of the games, running back Kobe McCrary had more than 100 yards, either running backs Rodney Smith, Shannon Brooks or both had been out.

Other notes:

-Linebacker Thomas Barber has had four consecutive games with 10 tackles or more. Fleck said that he is developing into his leadership role. 

-Defensive back Adekunle Ayinde was listed as a cornerback on the depth chart this week in Minnesota’s depleted secondary. Ayinde, along with cornerback Antonio Shenault, are listed as the top two corners available this week for Minnesota.

-The Gophers haven’t won at Kinnick Stadium since 1999, in a 25-21 win over the Hawkeyes. Minnesota hasn’t had the Floyd of Rosedale trophy on its sideline since 2014 when the Gophers routed the Hawkeyes 51-14 at TCF Bank Stadium.