Decker’s return does little to help Gophers

It turns out Eric Decker might not be the solution to the Gophers problems. Many thought his return âÄî the Gophers lost three straight games after he sprained his ankle Nov. 1 against Northwestern âÄî would jumpstart a struggling offense in a game with bowl implications, but he had little impact in MinnesotaâÄôs 55-0 loss. The junior receiver caught just two passes for 33 yards Saturday, despite playing the entire game, as the Gophers dropped their fourth straight game. His first catch didnâÄôt come until late in the third quarter, when Minnesota trailed 41-0. His second catch came in the fourth quarter, with the team trailing 48-0. Decker didnâÄôt have a visible limp, but Brewster said he wasnâÄôt 100 percent. He wasnâÄôt available for comment after the game. âÄúThey did a nice job with him,âÄù Brewster said. âÄúHe gave a valiant effort to play tonight and I couldnâÄôt be more proud of the type of season heâÄôs had.âÄù Quarterback Adam Weber wasnâÄôt much help, playing perhaps his worst game of the season and finishing 14-for-28 for 127 yards and two interceptions. WeberâÄôs main problem was overthrowing receivers âÄî his most glaring came in the third quarter, when he missed a wide open Jack Simmons on what wouldâÄôve likely been a 37-yard touchdown âÄî and he missed three passes intended for Decker. âÄúSomeone has to be held accountable,âÄù Weber said. âÄúAs the quarterback, thatâÄôs my responsibility.âÄù The offense looked one-dimensional without Decker the past three weeks, which many attributed to their offensive struggles, including a 188-yard, 6-point output against Michigan. Things werenâÄôt much better Saturday, as the Gophers finished with seven three-and-outs and were outgained 483-134 in total yards. âÄúIt felt just like the Michigan game again,âÄù Weber said. âÄúWe just didnâÄôt click today. We found ways to hurt ourselves.âÄù The receivers who saw a bit of success in DeckerâÄôs absence didnâÄôt do much, either. Brandon Green, Jack Simmons and Ben Kuznia combined for five catches and 44 yards, and DeckerâÄôs 33 yards actually led the team, which came into the game third in the Big Ten in passing offense. The hope that DeckerâÄôs presence would free up the running game didnâÄôt come true, either, as the team finished the third quarter with negative yardage and finished with seven net yards on 21 carries. âÄúIt kinda sucks that we had to end up like this,âÄù senior linebacker Steve Davis said. âÄúI know a lot of guys on the team are down. We didnâÄôt live up to par. We didnâÄôt do what we were supposed to do this year, and got embarrassed.âÄù