Notebook: Brewster heated after two-point conversion attempt

Badgers redshirt sophomore defensive back Shelton Johnson fails to stop Gophers junior wide receiver DaJon McKnight from scoring a touchdown Saturday at Madison.

Image by Mark Vancleave

MARK VANCLEAVE, DAILY Badgers redshirt sophomore defensive back Shelton Johnson fails to stop Gophers junior wide receiver Da’Jon McKnight from scoring a touchdown Saturday at Madison.

by Josh Katzenstein

MADISON, Wisc. âÄî If losing a seventh straight border battle to No. 20 Wisconsin wasnâÄôt bad enough for Minnesota, watching Badgers coach Bret Bielema try a two-point conversion when leading 41-16 in the fourth quarter certainly salted the wound. âÄúI was very upset, and I made sure [Bielema] understood and made sure he knew,âÄù Gophers coach Tim Brewster said of the call. âÄúI thought it was wrong. ThereâÄôs no excuse for it. Period.âÄù Brewster met Bielema at midfield after the game, directed some terse words and a finger-point at him, ripped his hand from the handshake and walked quickly away. Bielema defended the decision, saying he was simply referring to a coaching card dictating when to go for two. Brewster didnâÄôt think the card was relevant at that point. âÄúThatâÄôs a poor reason. ThatâÄôs a poor excuse,âÄù Brewster said. âÄúI thought it was a very poor decision by a head football coach, and heâÄôll have to live with that because it was wrong and, heck, everybody in here knows it and everybody in college football knows it. âÄúIt was wrong.âÄù The conversion attempt âÄî a pass by Scott Tolzien âÄî failed, which Minnesota safety Kyle Theret said was the Gophers way of responding to the play call. Gophers quarterback Adam Weber said he was glad Brewster mentioned something to Bielema after the game, but Weber wasnâÄôt nearly as surprised as his coach. âÄúI donâÄôt think it was needed, but as long as thereâÄôs time on the clock you know both teams are going to fight,âÄù Weber said. âÄúRegardless of what the score was youâÄôre going to try to put up points and really finish a team out. I donâÄôt know what coaching philosophy is on that, but as long as thereâÄôs time on the clock youâÄôre going to try to put up points. âÄúItâÄôs our job to stop them, which we did.âÄù WeberâÄôs off day A quick glance at WeberâÄôs game Saturday shows some solid numbers: 249 yards passing, three touchdowns and no turnovers. But Weber struggled with his accuracy all game and completed just 11 of his 25 passes. He also completed just two of his nine third-down passes as the Gophers finished just 3-for-13 on third down conversions. Weber overthrew numerous receivers on plays short and long and said he could have done a better job throwing âÄúcatchable balls.âÄù McKnightâÄôs big plays Twice Weber threw balls to DaâÄôJon McKnight that became touchdowns because of the junior wide receiverâÄôs ability to outplay the cornerbacks. âÄúI just competed for the ball when the ball was in the air,âÄù McKnight said of his two touchdown catches. âÄúIt was at the end, but I couldnâÄôt celebrate like I wanted to because we were still losing. It was just a catch for me.âÄù McKnight only had two catches for 51 yards Saturday, but both were more than âÄújust a catch.âÄù With 11:11 remaining in the fourth quarter, Weber threw a pass to the inside of the single coverage on McKnight, but he outran the cornerback to the ball and ripped it away from him in the end zone. âÄúThe dude had it at first, and, you know me, I just want the ball so I took it from him and I tried to keep it from hitting the ground and thatâÄôs what I did,âÄù McKnight said. âÄúI just wanted the ball more than he did.âÄù On the second score, McKnight went up for a jump ball on fourth down and came down with it. SaturdayâÄôs loss was the first game McKnight has recorded two touchdowns in a game. Subdued celebration Most times when either Minnesota or Wisconsin wins Paul BunyanâÄôs Axe, the winning team sprints to pick it up. On Saturday though, a few Badgers walked quickly to the Axe while most just went to shake hands at midfield. âÄúThe game was a little bit out of reach for a while,âÄù said Theret, explaining why the reaction was subdued. Extra points – Junior kicker Eric Ellestad badly missed an extra point after the GophersâÄô first touchdown in the second quarter. Ellestad continued with kicking duties for most of the game, but David Schwerman came in for the last kickoff of the game. – Senior safety Kim Royston did not play Saturday (leg), but he went out for an emotional coin toss. The Wisconsin transfer still knows a number of players on the Badgers roster. – The Gophers wore all-white kits for the first time Saturday. The only addition was the white helmets, which Brewster said was his idea. Theret and tight end Eric Lair agreed that they looked good in white.