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Published: Tue, 26 Sep 2017 12:11:09 GMT2017-09-26T12:11:09Z


Goldy Gopher runs over youth football player during Vikings mascot game

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 23:10:59 GMT2017-09-25T23:10:59Z

On the list of controversial topics to come out of Sunday’s slate of NFL games, this ranks pretty low. But it has come to my attention that there was a mascot vs. youth football players game at U.S. Bank Stadium as part of the Vikings vs. Buccaneers halftime festivities. Goldy Gopher — perhaps inspired by P.J. Fleck, the 120 mph Gophers football head coach who was on hand for the ceremonial sounding of the Gjallarhorn — took a pitch, ran right, showed an elite burst of speed to turn the corner … and then basically ran over a young defender on his way to the end zone. Ben Krause got a fantastic picture of it (shown above with his permission), but seeing it all happen in real time makes it more cringe-worthy. It was enough, in fact, to get former running back LaDainian Tomlinson talking about it on NFL Gameday Prime along with former defensive back Deion Sanders. .@LT_21 is mad about @GoldytheGopher trucking a kid, challenges Goldy to get him next (and works in Mike Gundy reference) — CJ Fogler (@cjzero) September 25, 2017 “Who does he think he is?” Tomlinson bellows at one point as the highlight is shown. “This is a little kid right there. Man, you can’t do that.” Tomlinson then evoked his best Mike Gundy impersonation, challenging Goldy to pick on someone his own size. “I’m a grown man,” Tomlinson shouted. “I’m 38.” (That epic Gundy rant, by the way, just celebrated its 10th anniversary). Goldy doesn’t seem to upset about it. The mascot’s Twitter feed from yesterday is filled with links to the video of his play. On one Goldy writes, Put me in @Coach_Fleck ! I think I still have some eligibility left!!! #RTB.” Maybe Tomlinson is right. Next halftime should be former NFL players vs. mascots. Then we can have some real fun.

St. Thomas vs. St. John's football at Target Field was a huge success. So when is the rematch?

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 23:03:50 GMT2017-09-25T23:03:50Z

An announced crowd of 37,355 watched St. Thomas defeat St. John’s 20-17 in a football game Saturday at Target Field that destroyed the previous Division III high-water attendance mark by almost 20,000 fans. The game came together thanks to a perfect storm, so to speak, of circumstances. When the Twins’ 2017 schedule was being put together in the summer of 2016, MLB had them on a 10-game road trip at the end of September that freed up Target Field. That schedule gap aligned with the already-scheduled St. John’s vs. St. Thomas game and came on a weekend when the Gophers football team had a bye. Given those parameters, the nature of the rivalry between the schools — ratcheted back up in recent years by the resurgence of St. Thomas — and the curiosity of the first-ever football game at Target Field, organizers were optimistic they could draw a big crowd. But 37,000-plus? “When the game was conceptualized and talked about originally, we were pretty confident we could push toward 25,000,” said Twins President Dave St. Peter. “But I don’t think any of us believed we’d push beyond 35,000.” Dan McKane, the MIAC’s executive director, was even more blunt when asked about the crowd that watched his conference’s most notable football rivalry. “I didn’t think we’d get anything close to (37,000) when it was first announced.” But they did, and given the success of the day from the standpoint of logistics, finances and most importantly crowd enthusiasm — “I have not heard a single negative thing about the game yet,” McKane said Monday — the logical question becomes: When are they going to do this again? In regards to football at Target Field, we already know the date of the next scheduled game: North Dakota State and its rabid fan base from Fargo will host Butler at Target Field in the Bison’s season opener in two years on Aug. 31, 2019. St. Peter said Monday he has had conversations with several other regional schools about possibly playing football at Target Field. “I think we’ve always felt like football could be part of our long-term future,” St. Peter said of Target Field. “I don’t know if it’s an every year type of proposition — maybe every other year or five years. It does require the right schools and right regional brands. NDSU is a natural.” St. Thomas vs. St. John’s, though, is as close to ideal as you can get. Both schools have large Twin Cities-based followings, and plenty of long-distance alums traveled back to see Saturday’s game. But if you do a game like this too often, the novelty wears off. Both schools also want to exploit their own home field advantages most years (Saturday’s game was technically a St. Thomas home game). “We put so much money and time into our facilities that schools don’t want to lose a home game and home field advantage,” McKane said. “That’s something they want to take in account.” St. Peter, meanwhile, said Target Field would never host a football game in October. That takes 2018 and 2019 out of the equation for Tommies/Johnnies at Target Field since the rivals are scheduled to meet in October both of those years. September isn’t ideal, either, because it requires a long Twins road trip and repairing the field before the Twins return to play. The Twins, in fact, lobbied to have their 2017 schedule changed when they saw their marathon late-season road trip. When MLB couldn’t accommodate that request, they pivoted to football, St. Peter said. “In some ways, our assessment won’t be complete until we play baseball Friday night,” St. Peter said. “Larry Divito (the Twins’ head groundskeeper) believes we came through it fairly well. … We’ll bring in a minimal amount of sod for replacement, but much less than what you would after a concert.” Ideally, St. Peter said, a rematch between the teams would happen in November — after the end of MLB’s postseason when the field wouldn’t be used for anything else for months. The MIAC football schedule is comp[...]

Four-star Gophers 2018 target Eric Hunter Jr. picks Purdue

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 02:05:22 GMT2017-09-26T02:05:22Z

The 6-3 Indianapolis combo guard had been expected to check out Minnesota this weekend. But Hunter announced Monday night he will join Purdue's 2018 class

Gophers hockey lands at No. 3 in preseason polls

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 06:02:23 GMT2017-09-26T06:02:23Z

Olympic hockey coach Tony Granato sets plan for forming team

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 12:11:09 GMT2017-09-26T12:11:09Z

The American roster will be built around a core of Europe-based professionals.

Gophers at Purdue on Oct. 7 will be at 2:30 p.m. on ESPN2

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 23:09:52 GMT2017-09-25T23:09:52Z

Minnesota will try to extend its winning streak against the Boilermakers to five games.

Today's Video

Tue, 05 Sep 2017 05:09:15 GMT2017-09-05T05:09:15Z

Gophers coach P.J. Fleck takes helicopter to watch top recruit's game

Sat, 23 Sep 2017 05:32:06 GMT2017-09-23T05:32:06Z

Fleck and wide receivers coach Matt Simon took off from the U campus and flew to Eastview High School in Apple Valley and Lakeville North High School to see some top recruits.