Saturday, October 1, 2022

Quarterback Tanner Morgan will return to the Gophers next season

Mark Coyle hugs Tanner Morgan after Minnesota’s 23-13 win over Wisconsin at Huntington Banks Stadium on Saturday — a fine moment between the Gophers’ athletics director and the Yu’s starting quarterback.

Then coal brought up Minnesota’s defeat in Wisconsin last year. He wasn’t giving up on Paul Bunyan’s bad memory of not winning the axe, but instead wanted to remind Morgan what he had said after his 20-17 overtime loss at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis. When the postgame Zoom interview was done, a fired Morgan told Eddie, “We’re going to win that thing next year,” Morgan said, mixed with a colorful adjective.

With Morgan not holding the definitively-stuck 6-foot rivalry trophy, he said he forgot that statement/guarantee until Coyle brought it up in celebration on Saturday.

“I think it’s great to be able to deliver on that promise,” Morgan said.

After winning the ax on Saturday, Morgan made another pledge: He would return for the 2022 season.

“I’ll be back,” he told Pioneer Press.

Morgan, who did not participate in Senior Day on Saturday, will use his sixth season of eligibility to proceed next fall. This was made possible because the NCAA determined that the 2020 season would not count against the eligibility limit due to the coronavirus pandemic.

With the win over the Badgers, Morgan improved to 26-12 as Minnesota’s starting quarterback from the middle of the 2018 season and is now 2-2 against Wisconsin. He said Coyle had the confidence to tell they would win on Saturday, how they beat Wisconsin in 2018 and were so close in 2020.

“We thought we should have won that game,” Morgan said of last year. “There are more games lost than winning and, for me, upon waking up from that zone, I knew I didn’t want to leave the game without an ax again for the rest of my career.”

Fifth-year teammates Boye Maffee and Chris Autman-Bell said the overtime loss to Wisconsin also ignited a fire in them.

“I thought about it all week,” said Autman-Bell, who left last year’s game with an injury. “… I didn’t let my game get emotional. I play with emotions instead. I just stuck to it. We came together as a team and we fought back. Last year’s game was something like this Which was definitely disappointing, but coming back to this team and being back in this state is something I am forever grateful for.”

On Saturday, Morgan made a comeback after a hard start against the Badgers. After the Badgers intercepted a tipped pass for a pick six to take a 10-6 lead in the second quarter, Morgan’s throw to Autman-Bell went for a 27-yard touchdown, giving the Gophers a 20-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Got a lead of 13. He completed 11 of 16 passes for 199 yards, including two other big finishes for Brevin Spahn-Ford and one for Dylan Wright in the second half.

“Tanner never let anything happen to him,” Autman-Bell said. “Tanner has been through everything in this world and some people in this world can’t go through that. He’s still coming to lead this team every day with a smile on his face and every Happy and upbeat day. That’s one leader and that’s who Tanner Morgan is, and he’s someone I still look up to today.”

In addition to Morgan, Minnesota has also retained Mo Ibrahim for next season, the 2020 BigTen Running Back of the Year announced last week. The position of other players in the fifth year is not as clear. Ottman-Bell, defensive lineman Boye Maffe, center John Michael Schmitz, guard Blaise Andries and defensive end Ezeki Otomewo competed in Senior Day, but they have one year of eligibility remaining and have not made their plans public.

Morgan emerged as the most winning QB in Gophers history this season – eight this season – although he has struggled in four losses to the U.

With a seasoned veteran living, Minnesota’s QB room is getting increasingly crowded. Four scholarship players were behind Morgan on the depth chart this season – fourth-year Zack Enxstadt, third-year Cole Kramer, third-year Jacob Clarke and freshman Athan Kaliakmanis. In addition, another 2022 recruiting class is on its way, the Harrisburg, SD. from Jacob Knuth

Morgan’s return leads to two primary questions: How will the quarterback competition be handled from top to bottom next fall? And Which Current QBs Can Explore Alternatives In The NCAA Transfer Portal Before That?

Nation World News Desk
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