PJ Fleck Must Be Watching a Different Tanner Morgan Than Everyone Else

PHOTO: JOSEPH CRESS – IOWA CITY PRESS-CITIZEN

The Minnesota Gophers lost to the Iowa Hawkeyes again Saturday at Kinnick Stadium. PJ Fleck is now 0-5 against the southern border rivals and the latest rendition had to be the most infuriating yet. The Gophers won the turnover battle and dominated time of possession but, when push came to shove, they didn’t get the quarterback play they needed from Tanner Morgan, who went 14/30 for 183 yards and 1 touchdown.

It wasn’t for a lack of time or open receivers. His offensive line played way better than they did last week vs Illinois and, from the press box, I saw available Gophers down the field all day long. Morgan either didn’t see them or was too afraid to throw the ball. But you didn’t have to be there or even watching to know how terrible it was. Not if you were on social media.

Of course, there were other issues for the Gophers. Their wide receivers dropped a few passes and so did the defense whenever the Iowa QB tried to throw them the ball. But it’s Morgan who deserves the biggest piece of blame pie. Outside of one miracle throw, a 68-yard bomb to Chris Autman-Bell late in the 4th quarter, Tanner was mostly terrible vs the Hawkeyes.

PJ Fleck doesn’t see it (apparently)

But don’t tell that to PJ Fleck, who after the game refused to place any blame on Tanner Morgan. He was willing to point the finger everywhere else, especially his wide receivers for whatever reason, but had no idea his QB played poorly. I don’t know. Maybe he’s watching a different game than we are.

Fleck can say whatever he wants about Morgan when he has a microphone in front of his face but the offense’ frustratingly cautious approach tells us how he really feels. PJ does everything in his power to make sure Tanner doesn’t have to win them the game.

That’s why the offense continuously stalled out for field goals on Saturday. When they needed a decent throw from the QB, he couldn’t make it, instead settling for check downs short of the sticks. Or, in the final couple of drives, taking bad sacks.

Big dreams crushed

A win in Iowa City would have put the Minnesota Gophers into the Big Ten West driver’s seat and just two more victories away from a meeting with the East champion in Indianapolis on December 4. Instead, they’ll again watch from home and PJ has nobody to blame but himself (and his QB).

I know Tanner Morgan is a great leader and an even better human. But those two things don’t qualify him as a good quarterback.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan