Monday's college football: Fleck says he ‘absolutely’ loves Minnesota

Andy Greder
Pioneer Press
“My future at Minnesota is to make sure Minnesota gets the attention Minnesota is getting, on a national level,” coach P.J. Fleck said.

As P.J. Fleck takes the Gophers football team to heights unseen in decades, the head coach is now being asked about his future at Minnesota.

“My future at Minnesota is to make sure Minnesota gets the attention Minnesota is getting, on a national level, for our team, for our coaches, for our state, for our Twin City area; that is my responsibility,” Fleck told WCCO-AM on Sunday.

“I know Heather and I absolutely love it here, and we are very grateful to our fans, very grateful to our administration and very grateful for our community that have accepted us with open arms. We got a lot of things to finish here this year.”

The 52-10 win over Maryland on Saturday was Fleck’s 50th victory as a head coach since 2013. At Minnesota, he’s 20-13 and riding a 10-game winning streak dating to last November. He was 30-22 at Western Michigan, going from 1-11 to 13-1 in four season.

With the 50th win, Fleck became the second-youngest active FBS coach to reach that mark behind Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald.

As for Fleck’s goal of being on the “national level,” the 13th-ranked Gophers will face No. 5 Penn State on Nov. 9.

Fleck will have four seasons remaining on his contract after this year, with the standard being five years for coaches in good standing. He signed a five-year, $18-million contract in January 2017 and has received one-year rollover extensions in November 2017 and in December 2018.

AD’s remark baffles Frost

Nebraska coach Scott Frost said Monday he doesn’t know what led Indiana athletic director Fred Glass to say the Cornhuskers’ staff doesn’t respect the Hoosiers’ football program.

Glass told the Indianapolis Star after the Hoosiers’ 38-31 win in Lincoln on Saturday the victory was “particularly gratifying, particularly knowing Nebraska’s staff had no respect for our program.”

Glass didn’t elaborate, except to say, “They know, and I know, and our team knew, and I’ll just leave it at that.” He declined further comment Monday.

Asked if he or his staff said or did anything that would have led to Glass’ comment, Frost said, “We’ve been scratching our heads wondering what that’s all about. We don’t have any idea, to be honest with you. I would be curious to know.”

Indiana looks beyond bowl

The questions at Indiana are no longer about bowl eligibility. Instead, everyone wants to know how high they can go.

Two days after beating Nebraska for the first time in 60 years and winning a crucial sixth game to become bowl eligible in October for the first time since 1993, the Hoosiers celebrated by going back to work.

“We have not had a ton of conversations about bowl games and six wins. We just did not,” coach Tom Allen said Monday during his weekly news conference. “I know the guys recognize, they knew when we won the game that we were bowl eligible, but that was never the goal — just to get to six. It is a great relief, in some ways, to get that out of the way.”

Purdue stays with Plummer

Two days after announcing there would be an open competition for the starting quarterback job, Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said Monday that Jack Plummer has the job going into Saturday’s game against Nebraska.

“I think the quarterbacks will continue to work hard and get better, but Jack will be our starter,” he said.

Plummer was yanked twice in last weekend’s 24-6 loss to Illinois. He was replaced for two first-half series after throwing an interception that was returned for a touchdown to give the Fighting Illini a 10-0 lead. Plummer returned for the final drive of the half and remained in the game until he lost a fumble that led to another Illinois touchdown. Plummer was 7 of 19 for 69 yards.

Aidan O’Connell made his debut in the first half and finished the game, leading the Boilermakers to their only score on a 99-yard fourth-quarter drive.

Extra points

The family of UNLV assistant football coach Barney Cotton said Monday he is progressing well after a heart transplant in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska.

... Assistant University of Wyoming football coach Willie Mack Garza has resigned after being charged with drunken driving.

... Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin has fired defensive coordinator Marcel Yates and linebackers coach John Rushing.

Associated Press contributed.