The Gophers were a quotable bunch at Tuesday’s media gathering, and we’d like to think Sid got everyone off on the right foot. He started by yelling at us about Christian Ponder, and he carried it over when head coach Jerry Kill came to the podium.
The good times spilled over to the portion of the access period in which we get to talk to players. Defensive lineman Cameron Botticelli and QB Chris Streveler (pictured) had notable zingers. Let’s get to it:
*Much of the focus between Saturday and now has been on a Gophers passing attack that led to just one completion in the victory over San Jose State. Part of that was because of how well Minnesota was running the ball. Offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover, while noting that such imbalance probably won’t cut it in the Big Ten, praised Streveler for the decisions he made in the read-option game. In fact, he said it was as well as he has seen a QB run the read-option under his tutelage. Still, a QB is often judged by the passing game, and Streveler admitted he’s heard some chirping on campus this week over his 1-for-7 throwing day.
Said Streveler: “Yeah, some of my buddies class have been like ‘Hey, nice completion’ or whatever. It’s just funny. I like to joke around about it, and we got the win so it doesn’t really matter to be honest. I’ve gotten a little ribbing from that, but it’s all right.”
*Botticelli was being asked about playing at Michigan in front of a huge crowd at The Big House. He started rattling off the short list of Big Ten stadiums in which he’s never played. At the end, a reporter reminded him that Rutgers and Maryland are also on that list.
“We’re counting them as Big Ten schools?” he quipped with a smile before making sure reporters knew he was kidding around.
Getting fans in the stands can be a challenge for various college football programs, including the Gophers. But Michigan? The Big House is usually full and rocking without much help.
As such, fans must have been pretty surprised to learn they could get two tickets to Saturday’s Gophers/Michigan game in Ann Arbor — face value of $75 each — for just the price of two Cokes at a Michigan convenience store.
Fans pounced on the deal, of course — which turned out to be a botched promotion. Per the Michigan Daily:
The Athletic Department later said in a statement that the promotion was run mistakenly.
“Coke as a partner of ours … purchased a limited block of tickets for the Minnesota game for a Coke retail activation aimed at Michigan students,” the release said. “Due to a miscommunication in the approval process, this promotion should not have run as is. As a result, it is being pulled immediately. However all purchases to date will be honored by Coke.”
The promotion sold out at about 7:45 p.m. at the U-go’s in the Union.
Nothing this cool ever happened to us while we were in college in Minnesota, though it was the mid-to-late 1990s and we could wear all the flannel we wanted without fear of reprisal, so it all evens out.
Michigan sold some football tickets Monday evening. At a 98-percent discount: http://t.co/m6Ss1LGpMr pic.twitter.com/aYVWEV4y4T
— Alejandro Zúñiga (@ByAZuniga) September 23, 2014
Each week, beat guy Matt Vensel will highlight five Vikings stats that really mean something.
15 — total pressures allowed by left tackle Matt Kalil through three games.
No offensive lineman in the league has allowed more pressures than Kalil. His struggles continued in Sunday’s 20-9 loss to the Saints. He gave up another sack and seven total pressures, keeping two different Vikings quarterbacks on the run. Kalil has now surrendered three sacks, two quarterback hits and 10 hurries in 2014, per Pro Football Focus. Other linemen have allowed more sacks or hits, but none have given up more total pressures. Head coach Mike Zimmer said yesterday that Kalil needs to move on from mistakes quickly instead of dwelling on them then getting beaten again.
75 — quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s accuracy percentage when pressured.
Speaking of pressure, Bridgewater handled it well after relieving Matt Cassel in the second quarter Sunday. The rookie quarterback was pressured on 12 of his 25 dropbacks, according to Pro Football Focus, and he completed five of his eight attempts when pressured for 49 yards (and one of those incompletions was a drop). Bridgewater was sacked twice and scrambled out of the pocket for positive yards on a couple of plays. His accuracy percentage under pressure (75 percent) this season is nearly 20 points higher than that of Cassel (58.3), who is sidelined with a broken foot.
five — touches per game for wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson this season.
After busting a 67-yard touchdown run in the season opener, his sixth straight game with a score, Patterson has been quiet. He had no carries and just four catches in Week 2. And on Sunday, he had one carry, on which he lost seven yards, and four catches for 61 receiving yards. The Vikings have been spreading the ball around; four players have between 14 and 18 targets this season. But with running back Adrian Peterson and tight end Kyle Rudolph out, perhaps they should try to get Patterson, who is averaging 15.9 yards per touch, even more involved offensively.
7.8 — yards per pass attempt allowed by the Vikings defense through three weeks.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees started Sunday’s game on a roll, completing his first nine passes for 108 yards and a touchdown. He finished the game with 293 yards and two scores on 27-for-35 passing, giving him an average of 8.4 yards per attempt. The numbers are inflated a little by Brees’ performance, but through three games, the Vikings are allowing 7.8 yards per attempt, which ranks 23rd in the NFL. The task is not going to get any easier with Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and the Falcons, who lead the league at 8.9 yards per attempt, coming to TCF Bank Stadium this weekend.
115 — minutes (and 54 seconds) since the last time the Vikings scored a TD.
It may feel like forever ago, but remember when Cassel connected with running back Matt Asiata for a 25-yard touchdown with 10:54 left in the first quarter of the 30-7 loss to the Patriots? That was the team’s last touchdown. In their past 115 minutes and 54 seconds of play, the Vikings have not gotten in the end zone. Heck, they have only passed their opponent’s 20-yard line three times. Only four teams have scored fewer points than the Vikings, who have just 50 so far.