Green steps in and steps up for Minnesota

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. âÄî Brandon Green heard some good news Saturday morning. Shortly before Minnesota’s game against Purdue, a coach told the true freshman receiver he would be getting his career start. Playing in place of sophomore Ralph Spry, who was serving a suspension, Green caught five passes for 100 yards Saturday, including, perhaps, the game’s biggest play. The Gophers announced their decision on Spry before the game, saying he would serve a two-game suspension for a âÄúviolation of team rules.âÄù âÄúWe look at things as one man’s mistake being another man’s opportunity,âÄù tight end Jack Simmons said. âÄúWe’re disappointed for our brother, Ralph, but we’re really excited about what Brandon did today.âÄù On the game’s opening drive, quarterback Adam Weber scrambled from a collapsed pocket and heaved a pass to Green, who caught the ball over a defender and sprinted down the sidelines, being tripped up just before the end zone. The 71-yard reception was the team’s longest of the season, and the play alone surpassed the season yardage total for Spry, who had played in every game. Green had just one career catch coming into the game, but became just the team’s second receiver, along with junior Eric Decker, to reach the 100-yard mark. âÄúThis was his breakout game, and we knew it was coming,âÄù head coach Tim Brewster said. âÄúHe’s a very talented football player, and what he did today wasnâÄôt by accident. He’s done a real nice job in preparing, and you knew he’d have a game like this. I’m just glad it was today.âÄù Decker, who came into the game fifth in the nation in receiving yards per game, had a season-low 51 yards. The Boilermakers put double coverage on Decker much of the game, freeing up Green. âÄúCoaches have been stressing to us all the time that teams are going to start bumping up coverage on him,âÄù Green said. âÄúSomebody else needs to start making plays.âÄù Added Brewster: âÄúYou’ve seen what they’ve been doing to Decker. âÄúThey’re rolling to him, they’re grabbing him, they’re holding him; other guys are going to have to step up, and Brandon Green stepped up today.âÄù Green is another true freshman âÄî Brewster’s first recruiting class âÄî to play this season. A four-star recruit from Chicago, seven different Big Ten schools offered him a scholarship, including Purdue. He played in five of the team’s first seven games but wasn’t one of Weber’s favorite targets. He showed flashes of why that was Saturday, dropping two would-be first down passes on the same drive. But with his big play, short receptions and run blocking, Green showed he could be the extra receiving threat the Gophers need. âÄúWe’ve been waiting for him to come out of his shell and execute,âÄù Weber said. âÄúThere were a few plays I think he wishes he could have back, but for a true freshman coming in like that, he played very, very well.âÄù