All or Nothing
Pass or Fail
Right or Wrong
Good or Bad
Pass or Punt
Said it after the Tennessee game and it applies again tonight, bad teams lose games that they could & even should win. I'm okay with one bad season every decade. Certainly more preferable than a middling existence where 7 or 8 wins happen every year but never better and sometimes worse but not dramatically worse. This team is too talented to justify a 3 or 4 win season, but with the absences & the inexperience that seems like the inevitable conclusion.
Now that that's out of the way, onto the good & bad!
The leader of the "bunch" has been dazzling & tonight was no exception but when he went out with a pull, the other members filled in superbly, especially Mattison! If Cook misses a game or two, the others are up to the challenge.
Eric Wilson had his best game of the season & possibly of his career to date under tonight's bright lights. From a critical solo tackle on Carson to the interception that set up the Purple with their final possession, he was a primetime performer and I can't wait to see what else he does as he gains confidence!
While it didn't end up being quite the shoot-out that I was anticipating, Minnesota's offense as a whole was good tonight. Theilen had his ankle-breaker at the goal line but aside from that one play none of the guys shined as brightly as the aforementioned RBs. BUT after four weeks of bupkis, Irv Smith Jr. may have had his break out game. His stats are average when compared with the rest of the league's TEs but he started the game hot and had the single most impressive catch of the game as he got blasted yet managed to not fumble. As with Cousins as other times, maybe it's due to a low-bar but he displayed some of the skills that got people excited about him last season.
I've been reluctant to criticize specific members of the offensive line so far this year but I can't ignore my eyes anymore. Dru Samia is still young enough that at some point in the future he could become a competent guard at this level, but these days he's like a fish out of water. I have no idea how Ezra Cleveland is doing on the practice field and in the film room but if the team sees him as a guard long term then they have no excuse for not giving him a chance. I don't think he could be worse than what the Sooner has been.
There are a handful of specific play calls that will be over-dissected tonight and this week but the most egregious was the two-point conversion attempt. I like the thought of using the quarterback as a weapon in that scenario but Kirk is not the right one to execute it with a high probability of success. As for the rest, I don't see them as blatantly/certainly bad - but feel free to comment if you think differently!
It was nice to see James Lynch get in and take down one of the most elusive in the league. It was nice to see some good plays by all of the kid corners. But nice doesn't pay the bills. So those & other parts of the game like them are just footnotes.