Despite being shocked by Ohio on Saturday, life continues for the Gophers football team.
On Monday, Minnesota (1-1) returned to the practice field, ready to rebound from its 23-17 home defeat, their first-ever loss to a MAC team.
“It’s a new week that’s all,” Gophers coach Glen Mason said.
“They ran hard, worked good, (were) attentive.”
Forgetting Saturday’s loss might be hard for the team. It will be even harder for the fans.
Minnesota’s defense failed to stop the run. The Bobcats posted 453 yards of total offense, 363 of which game on the ground.
On the other side of the ball, Gophers quarterback Asad Abdul-Khaliq struggled to connect the receivers. Abdul-Khaliq complete 10 of 28 pass attempts. The freshman quarterback threw long, short and wide.
There was also a weakness on special teams. Sophomore kicker Dan Nystrom missed two field goals, one for 25-yards and the other for 37-yards. After making fourteen consecutive three-pointers through the beginning of this season, Nystrom is two-for-five this year.
“We have not performed up to our capabilities in the first two games, but it isn’t because they haven’t had a good work ethic and haven’t been cooperative,” Mason said.
On Monday, Mason reflected back to the events leading up to the game against the Bobcats (1-1) and found nothing to regret.
“I thought our preparation was excellent,” Mason said. “So I wouldn’t have done anything different.”
Apparently, hard work will not be enough to win games for Minnesota this season.
“We worked hard last week,” Mason said. “The focus wasn’t there.”
On Saturday, Minnesota suits up for a chance to redeem itself. In their final nonconference game of the season, Minnesota travels to Waco, Texas, to face Baylor.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge,” Mason said. “I hope they are. We’ll find out a lot.”
“I don’t think our mental focus was there last week,” Mason said. “If it’s not there this week, then we’ll have the same types of problems. I dont’ see that right now, though.”
The Kid’s Alright
Abdul-Khaliq’s numbers Saturday were noticeably down from his college debut against Louisiana-Monroe on Sept. 2.
Against the Indians, the freshman completed 12 of 18 pass attempts while rushing for 26 yards on three carries.
Abdul-Khaliq’s exit in the season opener was premature, as he was knocked out of the game in the first half with a concussion.
On Saturday, Abdul-Khaliq was not on the mark, going 10-for-28. He also threw an interception.
“I didn’t see any lack of confidence last week,” Mason said. “He didn’t perform.”
Despite Abdul-Khaliq’s showing, Mason said leaving Abdul-Khaliq in the game was the correct decision.
“I thought he still gave us the best chance to win,” Mason said.
“It doesn’t matter if he’s a freshman, a senior, a 16-year-old, a 30-year-old, if I think a guy gives us a better chance to win, I put him in.”
Sarah Mitchell covers football and welcomes comments at [email protected]