MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUND-UP: Golden Gopher gridders perfect 4-0 again after win
MINNEAPOLIS (Sports Network) - Mitch Leidner tied a school record with fourth rushing touchdowns as the Minnesota Golden Gophers crushed the San Jose State Spartans, 43-24, in non-conference play in front of over 45,000 fans at TCF Stadium.
Leidner, who became the first quarterback in school history to record four rushing TDs in a single game, scored in every quarter for the Golden Gophers (4-0) as they remained perfect after four games for the second year in a row. The signal-caller, filling in for an injured Philip Nelson, finished the afternoon with a game-high 151 rushing yards and also converted 5-of-12 passes for 71 yards. David Cobb accounted for another 125 yards and two TDs for a Minnesota squad which rolled up 353 yards rushing on 67 attempts on the day. The Spartans (1-2) were paced by David Fales who converted 22-of-35 for 439 yards and three scores, but he was also picked off twice. Chandler Jones caught seven passes for 197 yards and all three of those touchdowns. SJSU was limited to only 47 net rushing yards.
Alberto Callaspo smacked a two-run homer among his three hits and three RBI in the Oakland Athletics' 9-1 win over the Minnesota Twins in the third installment of a four-game set at the Oakland Coliseum. Yoenis Cespedes cracked a solo shot among his two hits, three RBI and two runs scored for Oakland, which can win the AL West for a second straight year with a sweep of the Twins in the series finale Sunday or a Texas Rangers loss. Jarrod Parker (12-7) surrendered a run on four hits over six frames in the triumph. Pedro Hernandez (3-2) allowed six runs on eight hits and a walk in a two- inning start for Minnesota, which has dropped nine of its last 11 tilts. The A's touched Hernandez for a run in the first but shelled the young left- hander with a five-run second. Spurts of heavy rain delayed the start of the contest for just over two hours.
It figures to be a bit of a "Desperation Bowl" in the Land of 10,000 Lakes this week when the 0-2 Cleveland Browns face off with the wildly disappointing and winless Minnesota Vikings The Browns will welcome speedy wide receiver Josh Gordon back from suspension but will be without starting quarterback Brandon Weeden, who injured the thumb on his throwing hand in the team's 14-6 loss at Baltimore in Week 2, and running back Trent Richardson, who was dealt in a surprise blockbuster trade with the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday. Browns coach Rob Chudzinski has already named Brian Hoyer, who leapfrogged veteran Jason Campbell on the depth chart, the starter at QB in Minneapolis. Richardson, meanwhile, was selected by the Browns in the 2012 draft and was viewed as the centerpiece of a rebuilding process for a team that has not made the playoffs since 2002. But, that thought process came from the old regime in Cleveland not Chudzinski, CEO Joe Banner or first-year general manager Mike Lombardi. Things aren't going much better for the Vikings, who have been one of the NFL's worst teams in the early going due to the continued poor play from quarterback Christian Ponder as well as an extremely porous pass defense. Martellus Bennett's touchdown catch with 10 seconds to play gave the Chicago Bears a 31-30 win over Minnesota on a rainy day at Soldier Field last week. Adrian Peterson rushed for 100 yards on 26 carries, while Ponder went 16- for-30 for 227 yards, one touchdown and one pick-six for the Vikings, who have lost two straight division games to open the season after falling in Detroit last week. The Vikings hold a 11-3-0 advantage over the Browns in the all-time series between the two franchises. The last time Minnesota and Cleveland met was on Sept. 13, 2009, a 30-20 Vikings victory.