Wisconsin coach says Axe won't be on sideline this Saturday for Gophers/Badgers game

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 14:28
There as a little skirmish after the Badgers defeated the Gophers 20-7 at TCF Bank Stadium last season, took Paul Bunyan’s Axe and tried to “chop down” the goalposts. With so much on the line this Saturday for the rematch in Madison, Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen said the Axe will not be kept on the sideline. GA: Axe won’t be kept on team sideline. Players can celebrate with trophy on field, but won’t rush opponent’s sideline at end of game — Badger Football (@BadgerFootball) November 24, 2014 Per Bucky’s 5th Quarter, Andersen discussed Monday the new policy of keeping the Axe out of sight, out of mind during the game — though he said he hasn’t talked about the plan yet with Gophers coach Jerry Kill. “Last year was unfortunate,” Andersen said. “I don’t think [Minnesota head coach Jerry] Kill and myself liked the way it went down and it ended a year ago. I don’t think it is good for college football and I don’t think it is good for our kids. Our kids handled it far from perfect. There’s traditions, there’s things that are important and then there’s things that are over the top.“ Instead, the Axe will be brought to the winning team’s locker room after the game. This will probably mean cooler heads prevail … even though it’s more fun occasionally when they don’t. H/T to @scoopwalsh for the story.
Categories: Local

Kalil says post-game incident with fan 'not a big deal'

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 13:55
Left tackle Matt Kalil spoke with reporters this afternoon, a day after he declined to speak with the media on his way out of the locker room following the 24-21 loss to the Packers and then got into an altercation with a fan as he exited TCF Bank Stadium. Kalil opened with a statement in which he apologized to the media for not talking yesterday. “The whole incident yesterday with the media thing and the fan, obviously a lot of frustration losing a game like that and losing [right tackle] Phil [Loadholt] in the game to injury and stuff like that,” he said. “Obviously I was a little upset. But hopefully you guys didn’t take anything personally. It was just one of those days, so I apologize for that.” Kalil, however, did not apologize to the fan he got into the altercation with outside the stadium. The fan was Rhett Wade, a 25-year-old Eagan resident. On Twitter, Wade wrote that he asked Kalil, “Where do you want to be traded?” He also told Kalil that he would rather have Kalil’s brother, Ryan, a center for the Panthers, instead of Kalil on the Vikings. “Just talking. He’s just a fan, so. Not a big deal,” Kalil said today when asked what the fan said to him. “He just caught me when I had a short fuse that day,” Kalil said, later adding, “It’s not like I dog-cussed the guy out or anything like that.” Kalil did, however, walk over to Wade and knock the hat off his head before leaving the scene. Kalil said he was frustrated with the way he played against the Packers. He was called for three penalties for 35 yards. He did not allow a sack, though, according to Pro Football Focus. But while Kalil said five times that he didn’t think the incident with the fan was “a big deal,” he did say that he should have just shrugged the fan off and that he hopes to learn from the incident. “It was one of those things when I walked away, ‘You know, what am I doing? That guy is not really worth my time,’” Kalil said. “Obviously I’ll learn from that and won’t let them get the best of me.” It is possible that Kalil could be fined by the league for the incident.
Categories: Local

Loadholt reportedly lost for season with torn pectoral

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 12:38
Right tackle Phil Loadholt is out for the rest of the season, according to an NFL.com report. Loadholt tore a pectoral muscle in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 24-21 loss to the Packers. He was replaced by backup offensive tackle Mike Harris and did not return to the game. Loadholt is the second Vikings offensive lineman to be lost to a torn pectoral muscle this season. Right guard Brandon Fusco suffered a similar season-ending injury back in Week 3. Loadholt, 2009 second-round pick, is in his sixth season with the Vikings. Loadholt has struggled in pass protection this season, allowing five sacks and 33 total pressures, according to Pro Football Focus. But he was solid as a run blocker again. We will get a chance to ask head coach Mike Zimmer for more on Loadholt’s injury at 2 p.m.
Categories: Local

Nik Backstrom, Wild have formidable task tonight in shutting down Nick Bjugstad and the Panthers

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 12:23
The Wild looks to get back to its winning ways tonight with its backup goalie in net against red-hot former Gophers star Nick Bjugstad.
Categories: Local

Mom was right: Odell Beckham Jr. hit 'genetic jackpot'

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 12:14
Odell Beckham Jr.'s "catch'' on Sunday night made him the most-famous football player in America. His mom, Heather Van Norman, is the most-famous athlete to come from Windom, Minn.
Categories: Local

Boddy-Calhoun named Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 09:39
Gophers cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun was honored by the Big Ten on Monday.
Categories: Local

Mark Craig's 5 Extra Points

Star Tribune Sports - Sun, 11/23/2014 - 22:22
Categories: Local

Ex-North Star Murray Oliver dies at 77

Star Tribune Sports - Sun, 11/23/2014 - 21:56
Center played five seasons and coached eight Minnesota.
Categories: Local

Now in the NHL, ex-Gophers stars set to tangle in Florida

Star Tribune Sports - Sun, 11/23/2014 - 21:52
Former college teammates Bjugstad, Haula to start a rivalry in the NHL that will feature some talking.
Categories: Local

Hartman: Despite loss, more progress for Vikings

Star Tribune Sports - Sun, 11/23/2014 - 20:41
They played the Packers much closer than earlier, and Greg Jennings sees it slowly coming together.
Categories: Local

Gophers' Big Ten title chances being taken seriously

Star Tribune Sports - Sun, 11/23/2014 - 20:39
Division finale validates what the skeptics had dismissed as false hope.
Categories: Local

Souhan: Kalil avoids media, but not controversy

Star Tribune Sports - Sun, 11/23/2014 - 18:27
The Vikings tackle took three crucial penalties in the loss to the Packers
Categories: Local

Vikings rely on depth at key positions in loss

Star Tribune Sports - Sun, 11/23/2014 - 16:56
Joe Banyard. Charles Johnson. Shamar Stephen. Three names the Vikings didn’t exactly think they’d rely on in a game but, nevertheless, played important roles in 24-21 loss to the Packers on Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium. Johnson and Stephen both made their first career starts at wide receiver and defensive tackle. Johnson started over wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson and had a team-high 11 targets. The Packers seventh round pick in 2013 finished with three receptions for 52 yards and his first career touchdown reception, a 22-yard pass from rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. “It was exciting,” Johnson said. “The team that drafted me I got my first catch on (in Week 5) and now I got my first touchdown on and my first start. It was pretty exciting for me but kind of overshadowed now that we lost. “I know what type of player I can be, I know what type of player I am,” Johnson said. “It’s just all about opportunity. Hard work makes opportunity and creates your own success.” Stephen replaced defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, who was out with a knee injury, at the three-technique spot. The seventh rounder played a bigger role, rotating with defensive tackles Linval Joseph and Tom Johnson at the nose and three-technique positions. “It was pretty good and exciting trying to come out trying to play my best,” Stephen said. “Just doing my job and just commit to our gameplan; keying in on my fundamentals and technique.” Banyard didn’t start and really didn’t know what his role would be with the Vikings acquiring running back Ben Tate off waivers from the Browns on Wednesday. The second-year running back however served as rookie running back Jerick McKinnon’s backup over Tate, who did not play. Banyard finished with five carries for 26 yards and three catches for 19 yards, flashing some of the potential he displayed during the preseason. “Collectively, we see ourselves as one group,” Banyard said of the running backs. “So we don’t really see ourselves as individuals. When the next guy is called up, we just try to encourage each other and make sure we stay on par. It doesn’t really affect anything because we all practice together.”
Categories: Local

Bridgewater says being 'very excited' to play Packers affected his first-half accuracy

Star Tribune Sports - Sun, 11/23/2014 - 16:48
You might have noticed that Vikings rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater looked very much like a jittery rookie quarterback in the first half of Sunday’s 24-21 loss to the Packers at TCF Bank Stadium. His throws were sailing or bouncing or, in once case, being picked off and used to set up a Packers touchdown and a 14-7 lead. For the first half, Bridgewater completed 11 of 22 passes for 122 yards, one touchdown and one interception. In the second half, he completed 10 of 15 passes for 88 yards, one touchdown, a two-point conversion and no interceptions. So, what gives about the slow starts, Teddy? “Coming into this game, I wasn’t able to play the first time we played the Green Bay Packers,” said Bridgewater, referring to the 42-10 debacle he missed because of a sprained ankle back on Oct. 2. “I was trying to get a feel for this rivalry. Now I know what it’s about. “I was just very excited about being able to play the Green Bay Packers for the first time. I just have to settle down and remain poised and let the game come to me. We have a great group of guys here who will pull me to the side. Or [quarterbacks] Coach Scott Turner, who is on the sideline with me. He just tells me consistently throughout the game, ‘You’re going to have some ups and downs, but just keep fighting.’” That’s a long way around saying he was nervous to start the game.
Categories: Local


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