RB Terry Jackson

2002 Statistics

Coach: Glen Mason
34-37, 6 years
2002 Record: 8-5
at Louisiana-Lafayette WON 35-11
at Purdue LOST 15-28
at Michigan State WON 28-7
at Ohio State LOST 3-34
at Wisconsin LOST 31-49
Arkansas WON 29-14

2002 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2003 Outlook

This Minnesota squad has potential. Potential to reach the next level with so many returning starters, the potential to beat the heavyweight Big Ten programs, the potential to reach high statistical levels and rankings, all attainable. But only if team play can abound and this versatile QB excel as teams cue on their potent running attack.

Size issues up front on both sides glare with reason - they have been the Gopher's downfall too often against conference brethren. Talent positions and speed are in place. It's the bulk (or lack there of) of the big men that makes fourth quarters alone seem like 60 minutes. This squad is properly cast to take that next step. Their work has been well cut out, and the results look achievable for success.

The Gophers will dine on a diet of five creampuffs and two chewy challenges (Penn State and Michigan) in the first seven games. After that, the Gophers run through a series of foes they appear to match up well against - and this year, national champion Ohio State and apparently-improving Purdue are gone. If the Gophers can clean their plates and avoid serious injuries, they should easily return to form against Big Ten mid-runs Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa -- four teams with which they should be competing for the Big Ten's "other" bowl berths. It is realistic that they could sneak in the conference back door if they can beat Michigan and/or Penn State, and then Ohio State, Purdue, Michigan and Penn State knock each other off equally. It is more realistic that they will remain meshed somewhere in the mediocrity of the Big Ten. This crew will be competitive enough to make office-poolers mad as they ruin point-spreads weekly.

Projected 2003 record: 8-4
TE Ben Utecht
FS Eli Ward
WR Paris Hamilton
QB - 3.5 DL - 3
RB - 4 LB - 3.5
WR - 3 DB - 4
OL - 3.5 ..

Passing: Asad Abdul-Khaliq, 315-165-11, 2190 yds., 19 TD's

Rushing: Terry Jackson, 239 att., 1317 yds., 6 TD's

Receiving: Ben Utecht, 37 rec., 480 yds., 6 TD's

Scoring: Thomas Tapeh, 10 TD's, 60 pts.

Punting: none

Kicking: none

Tackles: Eli Ward, 116 tot., 71 solo

Sacks: Mark Losli, 6 sacks; Paul Nixon, 6 sacks

Interceptions: Justin Isom, 3 for 54 yds.

Kickoff returns: Demetrus Johnson, 3 ret., 18.7 avg.

Punt returns: none


LB Ben West
OFFENSE: Antoine Burns-WR, Scooter Baugus-TE, Jeremiah Carter-OT, Jake Kuppe-OT, Dan Nystrom-K, Jermaine Mays-KR
DEFENSE: Michael Lehan-CB, DLB Phil Archer, DE Charlton Keith (transferred), Danny Upchurch-PR, Preston Gruening-P

By Joe Howley
Royal Oak, Mich.

Few college teams feature a traditional fullback-tailback running attack any more; most teams have gone to running schemes utilizing the fullback almost exclusively as a blocker. But the Golden Gophers under coach Glenn Mason are bucking the trend. Minnesota uses a traditional two-back I-formation attack, and in 2002, it paid off very successfully for the nation's 20th ranked rushers. By necessity, teams today concentrate much more on containing high-octane passing attacks. An old-school option attack such as Minnesota's can be very effective, to the tune of 210 yards-per-game. And both the backs that made that running game go return this season.

TB Terry Jackson II is back for his junior year and again teamed with senior FB Thomas Tapeh (906 yards). They'll present the prototypical thunder-and-lightning attack in the backfield, with Jackson as the breakaway threat and Tapeh the obvious yardage-chewing power runner. Quarterback Asad Abdul-Khaliq gives the Gopher offense another running threat. The Gophers run-game ranked behind only Rose Bowl-bound Iowa in the Big Ten. Front line issues make repeating that level of success another story.

On the offensive line, senior guard Joe Quinn should be the standout. A three-year starter, the 6-4, 280-pounder will anchor the Gophers. The Minnesota attack depends on zone blocking schemes to open holes and keep rushers off the quarterbacks, and the mobility of Abdul-Khaliq and elusiveness of Jackson demand quickness from the offensive linemen. Quickness is there with the crew for 2003. But the new millennium provides 300-pound, sub-5-second-40 running defensive linemen who are often quick enough themselves to drop into coverage during stunts and/or blitzes. The rest of the Gopher line definitely needs to step up its performance against such higher-quality competition for Minnesota to win those key conference games. The other three returning starters averaged 260 pounds, no match for the likes of Ohio State and Michigan. That's decent size for the 1970s. Senior Matt McIntosh, a top 2002 reserve, is in position to take over at right tackle. He, at 302 pounds, is to be the prototype, with huge reserves ready in waiting to be real-game seasoned. Minnesota needs to shuffle them in early to see if they can get some packages of both large AND mobile linemen to stay at that Top 20% level. The backs are obviously in place.

Abdul-Khaliq is also no slouch throwing the ball. His 123.6 pass efficiency rating ranked 52nd nationally - but a respectable fourth among returning Big Ten quarterbacks. But, in the most logical scenario, it will be his arm that his team rides to success in 2003. Offensive coordinators will key on the running game, making Asad's arm beat them, if he can. His 19-to-11 TD-to-INT ratio and quick feet make him ideal to deliver.

Although top receiver Antoine Burns is gone, the Gophers return towering senior tight end Ben Utecht (6-6, 250, 37 catches), and senior wideouts Aaron Hosack and Tony Patterson, 6'6" and 6'3" respectively, give the Gophers a Paul Bunyan-esque receiving corps which will take advantage of smaller cornerbacks on opposing defenses. The Gophers rely on quick outs and crossing patterns to get defenders into jump-ball situations as much as possible. Abdul-Khaliq's scrambling ability also results in plays where the ball goes up for grabs. The Gopher passing attack also often features an 'inside-out' quality which involves the wideouts cutting in for shorter routes and Utecht heading downfield, usually isolated on an LB if all was executed properly, as more of a deep threat. Needless to say, this can even cause considerable match up problems for opposing defensive backs, especially if Abdul-Khaliq gets enough time to throw the rope needed.

Against softer non-conference foes, the Minnesota line was able to push people around and pile up big yardage numbers, but when the defenses stiffened in the Big Ten, the lack of bulk started to hurt. The Gophers were manhandled down the stretch by Ohio State, Michigan, Iowa and Wisconsin. A full offseason in the weight room, as well as the recruiting influx, should add a few pounds across the line and help Minnesota match up better in the trenches against those beefy Big Ten rivals.


TE Ben Utecht


Returning Starters in bold
QB Asad Abdul-Khaliq-Sr (6-1, 215) Benji Kamrath-Sr (6-2, 225)
FB Thomas Tapeh-Sr (6-1, 230) Brandon Hagen-So (6-0, 215)
RB Terry Jackson-Jr (5-11, 190) Marion Barber-So (5-11, 210)
WR Aaron Hosack-Sr (6-5, 210) Paris Hamilton-Jr (6-1, 190)
WR Tony Patterson-Sr (6-2, 205) Keith Matthews-Jr (6-2, 205)
TE Ben Utecht-Sr (6-6, 250) Matt Spaeth-Fr (6-6, 265)
OT Rian Melander-Jr (6-6, 275) Mike Nicholson-So (6-5, 290)
OG Mark Setterstrom-So (6-3, 290) Brian Goblirsch-Fr (6-2, 290)
C Greg Eslinger-So (6-3, 280) Tyson Swaggert-Fr (6-4, 265)
OG Joe Quinn-Sr (6-4, 285) Brandon Harston-Jr (6-2, 325)
OT Matt McIntosh-Sr (6-8, 305) Joe Ainslie-Fr (6-7, 300)
K Ryan Duffy-Jr (6-1, 210) Tom Mollner-Fr (6-1, 215)



By Joe Howley
Royal Oak, Mich.

The Gophers led the Big Ten in pass defense while ranking 19th in all I-A, and lost only one player from the starting defensive line-up that finished 2003. So another strong year defending opposing air attacks should be on tap. Minnesota plays a flex 4-3 which emphasizes containment up front and zone assignments among the linebackers and secondary.

That funnels the action, and the tackles, to the interior linebackers and the safeties. Senior safeties Eli Ward and Justin Isom lead the way again and should be primed for a repeat of their high 2002 performance level. Ward led the Gophers in total tackles, while Isom had the team-high three interceptions as he broke up eight passes.

At one corner, junior speed cover specialist Ukee Dozier is the Gophers' top man-to-man coverage player. At the other corner, sophomore Ken Williams looks to step into a starting role. Juniors Mike Wojciehowski and Justin Fraley, along with sophomore Quentin White, should all see action, especially for nickel/dime packages against the better passing programs.

Senior Ben West, a dependable run-stopper, returns at the SAM linebacker position, coming off a strong season where he racked up 103 total tackles, second on the team to Isom. Sophomore Kyle McKenzie will man the drop and linebacker position.

The Gophers use an unbalanced line featuring a nose tackle and a wide-side tackle, and sophomore Anthony Montgomery and junior Darrell Reid are back at those positions. Montgomery switched positions from defensive end during the season, and moved into a starting role late in the year. His 6-4, 280-pound frame indicates his need to add some bulk and become a solid inside run-stopper. Juniors Brandon Harston (309) and Sam Logan (232) return in backup roles at the tackles. At the ends, sophomore Mark Losli (6-7, 264) and senior Paul Nixon (221 pounds) are returning starters. Both recorded six sacks during 2002, and their totals will only increase. Soph Scott Stephenson (270) is penciled in for backup duty at the defensive end.

The Gopher defensive line, like the offense, buckled when Minnesota rolled into the meat (lockers) of its Big Ten schedule. Again, in their skid down the stretch of conference foes, opposing running games ran them ragged. The front four has a year of experience to go with its varying sizes of different role players. Small, quick linemen can be mixed and matched with the bulkier ones to provide the many looks (as well as rested and ready big men) offensive coordinators hate late in the fourth. Inventive schemes will pay off if they choose to let these linemen fill the roles as needed.


FS Eli Ward


Returning Starters in bold
DE Paul Nixon-Sr Darrell Reid-Jr
DT Dan Kwapinski-Sr Scott Stephenson-So
NT Anthony Montgomery-So Neel Allen-Fr
DE Mark Losli-So Maurice Buchanan-Fr
WLB Terrance Campbell-So Brian Smith-Jr
SLB Ben West-Sr Dominique Sims-Jr
DLB Kyle McKenzie-So Phil Archer-Sr
CB Justin Isom-Sr Mike Wojciechowski-Jr / Ken Williams-So
CB Ukee Dozier-Jr Trumaine Banks-Fr
SS Justin Fraley-So Johnathan Richmond-Jr
FS Eli Ward-Sr Quentin White-So
P Pete Ross-Fr Mark Rivers-Fr




Heading into 2003, the Gopher special teams are a definite question mark from top to bottom. Danny Upchurch is no longer with the team, leaving no one with any experience whatsoever returning punts. The kick returning spots are wide open as well after the graduation of Antoine Burns, and the Gophers are also looking for two new kickers. Quite a daunting task finding able bodies at this point.

Possibly the biggest loss for the Gophers will be All-American placekicker Dan Nystrom and his 20-of-21 on FGAs as well as his perfect 42-42 on extra points. Junior Ryan Duffy has been biding his time behind Nystrom and will get the shot.

Veteran punter Preston Gruening also graduated and the position is wide open at this point. The 2002 net punting numbers and their defensive depth indicate 2003 will again be a strong coverage year. Overall, the entire special teams department could prove to be an overwhelming Achilles Heel.


Terry Jackson is struggling to keep his starting job at RB. Marion Barber III had an impressive spring and was the starter before getting injured last season. Either back is capable of handling the top spot, and likewise provides an extremely worthy backup if relinquished to that post… Coaches liked what they saw in Ben Utecht, who seemed to be Abdul-Khaliq's favorite target, though he did experience a couple juggles and drops here and there. JUCO WR Paris Hamilton had coaches drooling ever since he signed to go to Minneapolis and they haven't stopped since. The WRs, in general, had a fine spring session and look to form one of the best corps in the Big Ten. Aaron Hosack can really create some problems with his height and marvelous leaping ability this year… Asad Abdul Khaliq had a typical Asad Abdul-Khaliq showing- good, but not great. He must step up his play and be the star (whether bright or hidden) of the offense if this team is to reach their Rosy destination.

The Gopher defense took control this spring with a victory in the spring game. The strength of this group seemed to be the run defense- an area that must be sharp if the Gophers are to survive the Big Ten race… The defensive line was fantastic, leaving little doubt about their capabilities this season. Sophomore DE Keith Lipka is expected to make an immediate contribution. Lipka came here last year but because of a NCAA requirement, had to enroll at JUCO and re-enroll this season. He will be a counted backup… Depth at LB sure is abundant. Dominique Sims' move from DB has been fruitful. His impressive performance this spring may allow him to grab a starting spot if effort and enforcement continue to shine. Glen Mason and his defensive staff are high on JUCO LB Brian Smith. Smith is big, strong, and mature- someone who the coaches feel can help this diminutive defense right away. Another recruit to watch is John Shevlin. Mason raved about his speed and says he has that "football look". Its in his eyes- we'll take your word for it Glen. Redshirt freshman LB Pat McCarthy had a monster spring game, leading his team in tackles… Coaches moved Justin Fraley into the starting SS spot and, with experienced FS Eli Ward, formed a strong safety duo. His emergence at the SS position prompted the switch of Justin Isom to CB, where he will possibly start with freshman sensation Trumaine Banks. Banks has outstanding cover skills and will prove a tough battle for opposing receivers and QBs this season.

Special Teams is the biggest concern, with Gopher greats Dan Nystrom and Preston Gruening gone to graduation. PK Ryan Duffy had a decent spring and heads to fall with the number one spot underneath him. Both punters struggled, but they were fielding more than their share of bad snaps as well. This must improve before season's start. With an undersized defense, field position will prove to be essential. Returns are still a question, but I would expect to see Banks, White, and Jackson thrown out there.