The Good: Minnesota got back on track in football, defeating Illinois 36-10. The Gophers rolled up a season-high 575 yards of total offense in the win. Minnesota improves to 3-2 in the Big Ten and 7-2 overall with the win.
Freshman Laurence Maroney, who hails from St. Louis and had about 30-40 family members and friends in the audience, led the way with 179 yards on just 22 carries, while Marion Barber III had 129 yards on 24 carries. In the second half, Maroney had an 89-yard run called back by a holding penalty. Quarterback Asad Abdul-Khaliq finished the day 12-for-15 for 237 yards and three touchdowns.
Illinois coach Ron Turner was impressed with Maroney, a player the Fighting Illini recruited.
"He visited here and we recruited him very hard, because he is a very good player," said Turner. "We would have liked for him to commit early, but we didn't stop recruiting him because he didn't commit early. Ever since he has entered the lineup for Minnesota he has done a great job."
The win was the 100th career win for Gophers coach Glen Mason.
"I'm probably surprised it doesn't mean more to me," said Mason. "It meant more to me that the players thought enough to recognize it. I had really forgotten about it until I went to break them down, and (senior defensive tackle) Dan Kwapinski said 'Wait, we want to give you the ball.' A lot of guys have won 100 games, but I'm not sure a lot of guys have won 100 games coaching some of the places we've coached."
Minnesota returns home next weekend for a Homecoming battle with Indiana. Game time is 1 p.m. at the Metrodome.
Abdul-Khaliq was pleased with the performance, especially knowing what lies ahead. After Indiana, the Gophers play Iowa and Wisconsin.
"It was very good," said Khaliq. "And we got tough games coming up and we want to go into those games on the up and up note. We clicked on all cylinders and we made some plays. We went pretty big on those guys. Sometimes our tailbacks are running so good you just can't stop giving them the ball. I think we definitely showed we can be balanced."
The Bad: The Gophers men's hockey team was swept by Minnesota Duluth. Losing 4-3 Friday and 4-2 Saturday. It was the first time in a span of 91 games that the Gophers lost two straight. The Bulldogs (2-2-1, 2-0-0 WCHA) earned their first sweep over Minnesota (1-3-0, 0-2-0) in Minneapolis since Oct. 20-21, 1989. It was the first time the Golden Gophers' have been swept at home in a series since falling to Wisconsin on Feb. 25-26, 2000. The Gophers continue their four-game homestand next weekend with a WCHA series against Denver Friday and Saturday.
In addition to losing two WCHA games, the Gophers also lost junior defenseman Keith Ballard to a knee injury Friday and he did not play Saturday.
"It's frustrating," Ballard said of not being able to play in The Minnesota Daily. "It's not something I want to be doing for too long."
Ballard described his injury as day-to-day. He also talked about the sweep.
"It's a reminder of what happens in this league when you take a night off, or a period off, or two periods off," Ballard said.
The Ugly: The No.1 ranked Gophers women's hockey team is so good, they are making other teams lose ugly. The Gophers swept the No. 6 Wisconsin Badgers after a 3-1 win Saturday afternoon at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis. The Gophers won 3-0 Friday and remain undefeated, posting a 4-0-0 overall record and a 4-0-0 mark in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
Wisconsin coach Mark Johnson had nothing but praise for the Gophers after the series.
"One thing about Minnesota, everyone talks about Natalie (Darwitz), Krissy (Wendell) and (Lyndsay) Wall, but people have to understand that they're pretty good in their own end and they know how to defend and it's tough to score against them," said Johnson. "Then you have (Jody) Horak back there and she's sort of a nemesis to us right now. At least to me, the last five games that we have played against her, she's just played very well."
The Rest of The Field: The Gophers volleyball team, ranked 25th in the nation heading into weekend action, defeated No. 22 Michigan State 27-30, 30-15, 30-26 Saturday to register its eighth-straight Big Ten victory. The Gophers current streak is second best in school history, behind last year's 11-game win streak. Cassie Busse tallied 30 kills in the match, becoming only the seventh player in school history to do just that. … The U of M's women's rowing team completed the fall season winning three of four events at the Head of Iowa Regatta in Iowa City, Iowa. Minnesota's top performers consisted of Katherine Nelson, Jackie Gagner, Melissa Roche, Jill Peters, Heidi Rose, Beth Ratterman, Sam Wangsgard, Sarah Reed, and Jenna Buskohl. … The Minnesota women's swimming and diving team opened its 2003-04 season with 195-102 dual-meet victory over Iowa State at the University Aquatic Center on Saturday. The Golden Gophers won 12 of the 16 events contested. Highlighting the Golden Gophers' performances were record-breaking times in four events, the 100-yard freestyle, 100-yard butterfly, 3-meter diving and the 200-yard medley relay. The relay of Megan Moore, Melissa Schold, Sarah Bohlsen and Katy Coombe opened the meet by setting a new meet record in a time of 1 minute, 35.48 seconds. The previous record was 1:46.98 set by Minnesota in 2002. "Winning that event was one of our team goals coming into this meet," said Golden Gopher head coach Jean Freeman. "We were thrilled (with the record time)."
The New: The University of Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletics and the University of Minnesota Alumni Association (UMAA) launched a joint Gopher football fan website at www.alumni.umn.edu/fan to complement gophersports.com and to help mobilize the fan base for the remaining away games and possible bowl travel.
"We are excited about partnering with the University of Minnesota Alumni Association on this new fan site," said Joel Maturi, University of Minnesota Athletics Director. "We have great fans and we want to make it as easy as possible for them to travel with the Gophers."
The weekend wrap
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