Tanner Morgan, Gopher Offense Terrible in Embarrassing Loss to Bowling Green
The Minnesota Gophers have one of the oldest teams in college football. It includes NINE fifth-year players, SEVEN sixth-year players and ONE seventh-year player, all who get regular playing time. This is a squad that relies (maybe) on just TWO freshmen who get on the field on a semi-regular basis with. Mar’Keise Irving gets some run on offense and (CB) Justin Walley on defense.
A team with that much veteran leadership should be, if nothing else, consistent. You should know what you’re going to get game-in and game-out. But the Minnesota Gophers have been the opposite of consistent during the 2021 season and the inconsistency monster reared its ugly head again vs the Bowling Green Falcons, costing them an ugly Homecoming loss vs a MAC opponent.
The Minnesota defense was the only faction that came to play on Saturday. They gave up two scores on the day and one of them, a TD in the 2nd quarter, was handed to Bowling Green by PJ Fleck. Up 3-0, Fleck decided to go for it on 4th and 1 from his own 29-yard-line. Trey Potts was swallowed up before the line of scrimmage and the Falcons found the end-zone on the ensuing drive to take a 7-3 lead.
That’s how the first half would finish because the Gopher offense couldn’t get anything started. Chris Autman-Bell caught Tanner Morgan’s first pass of the game and appeared to re-injure his ankle when tackled. He never returned.
Can’t Win Without Moving the Football
The biggest problems for the Gopher offense had nothing to do with injuries, however. The Minnesota offensive line, which is supposed to be one of the best in the country, was terrible for most of this game. No matter the look, the Gophers could not get their running game going. And when they needed Tanner Morgan to complete passes, he couldn’t.
It’s hard to move the football down the field when you can’t run or pass. The Gophers had just two big plays in the entire game. They both came in the 3rd quarter when former Eden Prairie star, Cole Kramer, took a QB keeper to the house and later, Trey Potts finally broke through the line for a huge run. While Kramer’s run ended in a TD, Potts’ dash led to a missed 52-yard field goal.
Ugly Day for Tanner Morgan
Morgan’s play seemed to get worse as the game went on. Finally, Fleck and his offensive coaching staff had no choice but to put the game in Tanner’s hands. He responded by throwing two interceptions to end the game. The final score an abysmal 14-10. Morgan’s final line might have been worse: 5/13, 59 yards and 2 interceptions.
I don’t know where the Minnesota Gophers go from here in 2021. Nobody’s job on offense should be safe. especially Tanner Morgan’s. A good team cannot be this inconsistent on the offensive side of the football.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan