For the Gophers, quarterback issue remains growing concern

Demry Croft has moved up to the second-string quarterback position, while Seth Green has moved down to fourth-string.

Head coach P. J. Fleck observes the game on Saturday, Sept. 30 at TCF Bank Stadium.

Jack Rodgers

Head coach P. J. Fleck observes the game on Saturday, Sept. 30 at TCF Bank Stadium.

Drew Cove

Minnesota’s schedule doesn’t get much easier from here.

The Gophers (3-2, 0-2 Big Ten) face Michigan State (4-1, 2-0 Big Ten) at TCF Bank Stadium Saturday, and Minnesota has work to do to prevent more losses like the ones against Maryland and Purdue.

“I thought we responded [to the Purdue loss] really well today,” said head coach P.J. Fleck. “Now, we have a top-25 team coming into TCF Bank Stadium.”

The Gophers did some tinkering with the depth chart beyond injuries Tuesday.

Minnesota now has four quarterbacks listed on the depth chart, with Conor Rhoda remaining the starter, Demry Croft moving up to the second string, with Tanner Morgan and Seth Green at three and four, respectively.

“After Conor, it’s kind of up in the air,” Fleck said. “You could put an ‘or’ by any of [the backups’ names].”

Fleck said Croft hasn’t necessarily come out and outplayed either Morgan or Green, who was listed as the second stringer last week against Purdue.

The Gophers’ offensive line had seen relative stability until the game against Purdue last week.

Center Jared Weyler was out for the third consecutive game with a foot injury, and in the game, right tackle Nick Connelly went down to injury. Connelly is out, but Weyler will be back in against Michigan State, Fleck said on KFAN 100.3 FM Tuesday.

The offensive line will look to have Weyler back at center, meaning right guard Conner Olson won’t have to fill in there. Redshirt freshman Sam Schlueter is at the top of the depth chart for the Gophers at right tackle, filling in for Connelly’s injury, but Fleck said there could be some moving parts on the line even with Weyler returning.

Breaking his planned redshirts has been a topic of conversation for Fleck lately, and he said he needs to find a balance.

“It’s a huge deal,” Fleck said. “We’re going to have to break another one this week. We’re going to give our players this year the best chance to win. There’s also some decisions and there’s a balancing act of ‘how much is too much.'”

Other notes:

-Michigan State is ranked coming into the game. The Spartans moved up to No. 21 in the nation this week after their victory against the Wolverines in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

-Safety Antoine Winfield Jr. was injured against Maryland and will not play vs. Michigan State.

-Michigan State’s defense has allowed more than 14 points on one occasion this season, when the Spartans lost to Notre Dame. Their other four games have allowed opposing offenses to 14 points once, and 10 points the other three times.