HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns

October 30, 2006

Gopher football is scary to watch

By Jesse Menden

For Gopher fans and alums, Halloween came early this year, and it wasn’t a trick or a treat.

The scene at the Metrodome Oct. 21 was a frightful sight. Division 1-AA North Dakota State outplayed the Gophers in every facet of the football game, as Minnesota barely won a game that was supposed to be over at halftime, 10-9.

The Gophers’ play on the field was more scary than “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” when playing NDSU was supposed to be as enjoyable as “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”

It was like one of those scary movies where the acting is so bad it is comical.

As a Gopher fan, the game was horrific, but funny. Minnesota’s usually awesome running game was as dead as a corpse. The Gopher receivers moved their hands like mummies. The Bison’s running backs and receivers ran through Gopher defenders like they were ghosts. Coach Glen Mason looked stupefied on the sidelines, as if he was lost in a corn maze. The crowd was booing like a pack of ghouls hovering over a cemetery.

At times during the game, the only proper reponse was to just laugh at how NDSU was dominating a supposedly superior Gopher team.

As I was searching for a Halloween mask to cover my face in disgust late in the fourth quarter, the Gophers did the first right thing all day. A blocked field goal prevented a historic loss and nationwide scrutiny.

And as I started to put away my Jason mask, I realized that even though the Gophers won and were running onto the field like they had just taken the national championship, I was thoroughly embarrassed.

The Gophers didn’t have a lead until the fourth quarter. They were out-gained by over 130 yards for the game and had the ball 10 minutes less than the Bison. This would be tolerable if it was against another Big Ten school (the Gophers have been mediocre for the past 40 years), but not against a team that plays Division 1-AA.

And remember, NDSU’s team is made up of almost half Minnesotans, but the Gophers didn’t need them.

It appears that NDSU’s head coach, Craig Bohl, is doing more with less, while Mason is doing less with more.

The Gopher football program has millions more in their budget, 22 more scholarships, more assistant coaches, and more resources, period. How did the Gophers look so bad?

Maybe it was their costumes, oops, I mean uniforms. Coach Mason said on his Sunday morning radio show, that he thought their throwback costumes were a ‘distraction’ to his players.

Are you kidding?

Were the pants too tight, or the jerseys too maroon? Were the helmets too shiny? How can a Big Ten coach make excuses like that?

For Halloween, my uniform will be a ghost. I hope that it won’t distract me from trick-or-treating skills, but I have gone out every Halloween since I was born so it should not be a problem.

I also hope that my invisibility as a ghost will help me somehow dodge all of the bets I made with my NDSU friends, and also all of the harassment. Thanks to Mason & Co., all Gopher fans will need to be invisible until this game blows over with the winds of winter.

Credit must be given to the Bison for their play, but given the circumstances, the Gophers should have won by at least a touchdown.

This Halloween will be vanilla for Gophers’ fans this year. They will be immune to any scary movies, costumes, fake blood, haunted houses, or anything else that is mildly frightning, thanks to the Bison. Fans got one of the greatest scares of their sports lives against the Bison. After that, how scary could Halloween be?