Gophers Win In Fleck’s Debut, Men’s Hoops Loses Curry For Season 31 Aug 17

Gophers Win In Fleck’s Coaching Debut
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Tyler Johnson had a 61-yard touchdown reception from Conor Rhoda in the first quarter to give Minnesota a spark in coach P.J. Fleck’s first game, and the Gophers grinded out a 17-7 victory over Buffalo in the season opener on Thursday night.

Fleck led his players in a pregame sprint out of the tunnel beneath a vintage late-summer evening sky, and Johnson racked up 141 yards on six catches by halftime. The rest of the night took on a considerably slower pace, with the Gophers content to call inside handoffs on read-option plays behind new quarterbacks Rhoda and Demry Croft.

Rhoda started the game and went 12 for 21 for 176 yards, but he threw an interception in the end zone in the second quarter. Croft rushed six times for 32 yards and completed 7 of 11 passes for 63 yards.

Emmitt Carpenter missed two of his three field goal tries for the Gophers, but Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks were able to find enough room to wear down the Bulls and run out the clock. Brooks scored on a short run near the end of the first quarter.

Anthony Johnson gave the Gophers secondary trouble with 11 grabs for 140 yards, including a 50-yard completion that set up his 16-yard touchdown catch from Tyree Jackson on the next play for the Bulls to tie the game late in the first quarter.

The Gophers have relied heavily on their defense this decade, and that’ll probably be the case again this season despite the departure of several starters. Safety Antoine Winfield Jr. had a sack, a blocked field goal and two pass breakups. The Gophers forced eight punts while holding the Bulls to 51 yards on 22 rushes.

Jackson finished 22 for 42 for 211 yards and one interception. Khalil Hodge had 20 tackles.

Men’s Hoops Loses Forward Curry For Season
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota sophomore forward Eric Curry will miss the upcoming season, after injuring his left knee during a pickup game.

The university announced that Curry tore his ACL, MCL and meniscus Thursday.

Gophers coach Richard Pitino said the team was “disheartened by the news” after a “tremendous summer” on the court by Curry. The native of Memphis, Tennessee, played in all 34 games in a reserve role as a freshman. He was third on the team in rebounds and blocks, averaging 5.5 points and 19.9 minutes per game.

The Gophers have experience with this kind of setback. Last year, forward Davonte Fitzgerald tore the ACL and damaged cartilage in his left knee during a noncontact drill in a preseason practice.