Randle El destroys Gophers

Sarah Mitchell

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Following Indiana’s 53-41 defeat of Minnesota, Hoosiers quarterback Antwaan Randle El was asked about the significance of rushing for a career-high 210 yards.
Randle El looked at Hoosiers football media relations director Tim Starowitz and asked innocently:
“Did I really?”
Randle El’s angel-like demeanor might have fooled some, but others know he is not so kind. Just ask the Gophers defense.
The junior eluded Minnesota defender after Minnesota defender on his way to a school record 473 yards of total offense. The Gophers managed 475 total yards — as a team.
More importantly for Indiana, Randle El slipped into the end zone for two touchdowns while completing 12-of-21 passes for two more scores.
Following Randle El’s clinic, Gophers coach Glen Mason could only state the obvious.
“Randle El is a great football player,” Mason said. “If you just found that out (Saturday), you haven’t been watching him.”
The problem was not all Randle El for the Gophers. Indiana runs an option offense, a style which gave Minnesota’s defense trouble in an earlier loss to Ohio.
And with Randle El calling the signals, Indiana ran the option to near-perfection.
“If you ask me, they kind of looked confused,” Randle El said. “They didn’t know what we were going to do.”
“(The defense) has to be able to cover the pass and cover the run, and to be able to run the ball and make plays like I did kind of put them in a bind. They didn’t know when to cover the pass or cover the run.”
Both ground and air attacks fared well for the Hoosiers. Against the Gophers defense — which was second in the Big Ten in total defense (306 yards per game) — Indiana racked-up 611 yards total offense, 348 rushing and 263 receiving.
“We kind of had them in our hands and where we wanted them,” Randle El said.
While Randle El and the offense seemed flawless, the quarterback did show his human side. These moments probably went unnoticed by those wrapped-up in victory.
But Hoosiers coach Cam Cameron remembered the good and the bad Randle El.
“The stats don’t tell you what he really did,” Cameron said. “He made two mental mistakes and I was all over him. I just chewed him up one side and down the other.”
Cameron is referring to Randle El’s third quarter interception — a ball picked-off by Gophers defensive end Karon Riley with the Hoosiers clinging to a 29-24 lead — and his fourth quarter fumble, which was forced by Riley with Minnesota down 37-35.
Still, the Hoosiers kept pace, as Randle El surprised the crowd and the Gophers defense play-after-play. Only Randle El was left unfazed.
“I don’t surprise myself because I don’t think about it when it happens,” Randle El said. “Sometimes I go back and watch the film and I see myself and I kind of smile.”
As he watches Saturday’s film, there is no doubt Randle El will laugh like the devil.