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“The Watchers” is a film adaptation of the 2022 book of the same name by A.M. Shine.
Review: “The Watchers”
Published June 13, 2024

Maroon defeats Gold 19-16 in Spring Game

The annual scrimmage ended with a sudden death “kick-off.”
Head coach P.J. Fleck talks to the team on April 13, 2019 in the indoor football practice facility in Athletes Village.
Image by Tony Saunders
Head coach P.J. Fleck talks to the team on April 13, 2019 in the indoor football practice facility in Athlete’s Village.

In a weekend where a plethora of Gophers are going to the pros, a lot of new faces showed out at the annual Maroon v. Gold Spring Game. Michael Brown-Stephens won Offensive MVP, Miles Fleming won Defensive MVP, and Matthew Trickett won Special Teams MVP.

“This is probably the fastest team that we’ve had,” said head coach PJ Fleck. “One of the most athletic teams, by the [testing] numbers.”

Brown-Stephens caught four passes this game, the most out of any receiver, finishing with 50 yards in the air plus 33 yards rushing on four attempts. Fleming recorded three tackles along with a pick.

“The game has gotten a lot slower for me,” said Brown-Stephens. “I’ve been better at running my routes and getting in and out of places, so just knowing every situation and knowing what I can counter whatever comes my way, I did a good job at that.”

Extra motivation for Brown-Stephens to perform well on Saturday came from a visit from his younger brother Anthony Brown, a 4-star wide receiver who de-committed from Minnesota in February but might still change his mind to play for Fleck and Co.

“He wasn’t impressed,” Brown-Stephens said. “He came over to the wide receiver hurdle after and said, ‘Can I get some pushups or something?’ ”

Backup quarterbacks Athan Kaliakmanis and Cole Kramer dominated playing time as Tanner Morgan only had one drive to show for 12 yards passing completing 1 out of 4 passes. Kaliakmanis finished the game 10/22, throwing for 143 yards and a touchdown plus an interception. Kramer went 9/19, throwing for 112 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Starting running backs Trey Potts and Mohamed Ibrahim were both inactive, Potts due to injury and Ibrahim for religious observance. As in past seasons, Ibrahim is fasting through the month of Ramadan. Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday which marks the end of Ramadan fasting, will begin at sundown on Sunday.

Potts and Ibrahim were in full pads for warmups and will be ready to go once the season starts. In their places, new running backs, Fr. Zach Evans on team Gold and redshirt freshman Jordan Nubin on team Maroon, carried the bulk of the load. Evans finished with 11 carries for 51 yards and Nubin finished with 15 carries for 44 yards.

The first touchdown of the game came off of an impressive drive led by Kaliakmanis who completed 4 out of 7 passes throwing for 73 yards, 27 of those yards came from a touchdown toss to Larry Wright.

After a Trickett 36-yard field goal, team Gold ended the first quarter with a 10-0 lead. Maroon would answer with a Kendall Moore 7-yard touchdown catch from Kramer and a 40 yard field goal by Kesich to end the first half.

The second half was all defense with no scores from either side. Fleming from team Maroon and LB Derik LeCaptain of team Gold each nabbed interceptions. Overall, redshirt freshman Austin Booker had an incredible day on the defensive line, totaling 7 solo tackles, 2 sacks, and two tackles for loss.

The game concluded with overtime, featuring two field goals connected by Dragan Kesich and Trickett. This sent the game into a sudden death mode where Kesich and Trickett each would attempt field goals from 52 yards until one missed and the other made it. Each kicker successfully made their first attempt, but Kesich’s kick the second time was wide left, leaving the door open for Trickett to win the match for team Maroon and he did exactly that.

“What a fun day,” said Fleck “Television producing might be in my future…they [Big Ten Network] gave us until 2:58 to get this thing done; it was about 2:10 when they told me that,” Fleck said. “I’m not so sure what I would have done if Dragan would made that last one, plus Trickett. TV doesn’t wait for anybody. They would have cut us. It just worked out that way.”

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