Minnesota tries to forget weekend win

by Michael Dougherty

It’s tough to put a game like the Penn State win out of your head, but Gophers football coach Glen Mason found an easy way:
He watched the tape of last season’s 20-19 loss at Indiana.
“I put that film on from last year — the first thing on Sunday,” Mason said, “and I got sick. I forgot about the Penn State game in a hurry.”
Minnesota missed two extra points and two short field goals, then surrendered a 19-7 lead in the loss that eliminated them from bowl eligibility.
“That was heartbreaking,” Gophers receiver Arland Bruce said. “You look at the film and think about all of the ‘what-ifs,’ but it helped motivate us for this game because we know what we need to do.”
Minnesota running back Thomas Hamner ran 30 times for 93 yards and a score in the loss. He said the ride home after that game was one of the longest he has ever made. But he also said the game helped motivate the team in the off-season.
“It was meant to be that way,” Hamner said. “It happened for a reason. We just had to mature as a team.”
Hoosiers coach has cancer
Indiana coach Cam Cameron revealed during Tuesday’s teleconference that Indiana’s assistant head coach Pete Schmidt has been diagnosed with a form of lymphoma.
Schmidt, 51, is to begin treatments in Bloomington, Ind., on Thursday. He will not be at Saturday’s game, but the Hoosiers have been granted permission by the NCAA and Minnesota to keep Schmidt in contact with the other coaches via telephone during the game.
Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez had a similar setup at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester during the Badgers’ game at Minnesota on Oct. 9.
Schmidt calls all of Indiana’s offensive plays. He’s formed a strong relationship with Antwaan Randle El and the sophomore said he took the news hard.
“That’s home,” Randle El said. “Most of my time is spent with him. … He’s a guypeople look to. If you didn’t have a dad, he would be a dad.”
Cameron said Schmidt was the first coach he hired when he came to Indiana in 1997.
“Although we don’t have a 100 percent diagnosis yet, I’ve been told it’s very similar to the lymphoma that Paul Azinger had,” Cameron said, “and now, obviously, he’s made a remarkable recovery.”
Mason said news of Schmidt’s cancer takes precedent over anything football related.
“We all get involved in this game and something like that brings you back to reality,” he said. “No matter what you have, if you don’t have your health you don’t have much. Our thoughts and our prayers go out to him.”
When a reporter told Hamner of the news, his jaw dropped and he shook his head in disbelief.
“That goes beyond football,” Hamner said. “I feel for him and the team.”
ù The Gophers have scored 279 points this season, averaging 31 points a game. The modern school record (post-1945) for points in a season is 293, set in 12 games during 1985. The all-time school record is 725 points in 1904.
ù As of Tuesday afternoon 38,000 tickets had been sold for Saturday’s game. The ticket office has expanded its hours. It will be open from 8 a.m to 6 p.m. The number to call is 624-8080 or 1-800-UGOPHER. The will-call window at the Metrodome will open at 7 a.m. Saturday and is located at Gate B. Walk-up tickets can be purchased at Gates F and H starting at 8 a.m. Saturday. There are also tickets for next week’s game at Iowa. Tickets are $26 and can also be ordered through the Minnesota ticket office.
Michael Dougherty covers football and welcomes comments at [email protected]