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home : columns : joel alvstad
January 28, 2020

10/30/2019 10:33:00 AM
This year feels different for the Gophers

Joel Alvstad
Sports Editor

In some ways, this year's Gopher football team is unlike any I've ever seen.
For starters, the team has an 8-0 record for the first time since 1941. That's not only before I was born, it's before my parents were born.
There's also the fact that as the season has gone on, the Gophers have gotten better. Minnesota struggled to beat South Dakota State, Fresno State and Georgia Southern, and owned league play with a tight win over Purdue. The last four games have been convincing victories.
The offense has been solid and multi-dimensional. The defense has been suffocating.
The Gophers have a bye week this week, then host unbeaten Penn State on Nov. 9.
Under normal circumstances, that would almost guarantee a visit from ESPN College GameDay, which went to Brookings, S.D. on Saturday for SDSU's game against perennial FCS power North Dakota State.
Unfortunately for the Gophers and their fans, you can bet that GameDay won't be there. Not when Alabama and LSU are both undefeated and playing each other on the same day the Gophers host Penn State.
In fact, when Alabama and LSU were both in the top 10 to start the season, I can just about guarantee that the ESPN crews had their flights and hotel rooms in Tuscaloosa booked.
But that doesn't take away from the fact that the Gophers are currently the biggest surprise in college football.
And if they can beat Penn State, the Gophers will maybe get the respect that usually comes with an undefeated record.
I saw on Twitter a comment from someone discussing that the Gophers could play on New Year's Day if they keep it close with Penn State and beat Northwestern and Iowa.
And therein lies the reason GameDay will go to Bama/LSU instead.
Even fans aren't convinced the Gophers are for real. And they're not really that broken up about it if the Gophers aren't for real. In fact, we're kind of used to it.
We're used to the Gophers starting 5-0 or even 6-0, then laying an egg against a team they shouldn't lose to. Then, the Gophers get blown out by a good team, they finish 8-4 and most Gopher fans are content.
Somehow, I'm not so sure this year's Gophers will fall into that "same old Gophers" category. This team and the fans should expect more.
This year feels different. This year feels special.
Hopefully after Nov. 9, the rest of college football knows it.
Farag shines
Windom graduate Adam Farag recently had a week to remember, playing on the defensive line at the University of Minnesota-Morris.
Farag recorded 2½ quarterback sacks, four tackles for loss and seven solo tackles in UMM's game against Crown College. He also deflected a pass, which a teammate intercepted.
For his performance, Farag was named to the NCAA Division III football Team of the Week by D3football.com, which highlights the top-performing Division III players at each position from across the nation.

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