Gophers beat Ohio State 2-0, LaFontaine earns first career shutout

Gophers beat Ohio State 2-0, LaFontaine earns first career shutout | FOX Sports

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Rashod Bateman ends his Gophers career by opting out again



a person wearing a helmet: Gophers receiver Rashod Bateman is expected to be a first-round pick in the NFL draft.


© Star Tribune/Star Tribune/Mark Vancleave • Star Tribune/Star Tribune/TNS
Gophers receiver Rashod Bateman is expected to be a first-round pick in the NFL draft.

Rashod Bateman opted out, opted back in and is now out again.

The star Gophers receiver announced Wednesday on Twitter that he plans to forgo the rest of the 2020 season and prepare for “the next stage” of his career. This came amid a COVID-19 outbreak for the 2-3 Gophers, who had to cancel Saturday’s rivalry game at Wisconsin.

Bateman was one of the first notable opt-outs back in early August, citing concerns about playing safely in the coronavirus pandemic after becoming sick with COVID-19 himself during the summer. The Big Ten subsequently canceled and then reinstated its season with new safety protocols, including daily testing, that convinced Bateman to return.

He received special dispensation from the NCAA to come back, despite signing with an agency and taking money for housing, training and transportation. The projected first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft hoped for one last hurrah with his teammates while possibly improving his draft stock.

Instead, the Gophers dropped their first two games of the year and have been inconsistent in all facets of the game. Bateman, a 1,000-yard Big Ten Receiver of the Year in 2019, had 472 yards on 36 catches and two scores through five games.

The Gophers first announced a one-day halt to practice Monday night before formally shutting down the team the next day. The team ammounced 15 positive cases, nine players and six staff, with even more presumed positives just awaiting confirmation results.

Returning for the Northwestern game Dec. 5 is in focus, though the other Big Ten teams that have experienced outbreaks, Wisconsin and Maryland, both needed two weeks to control their spread. Beyond Northwestern, just Nebraska on Dec. 12 and a to-be-determined ninth game on Dec. 19, slated as an East-division matchup based on the standings. The potential for a bowl game is nebulous, considering the pandemic has affected the number of games and the eligibility requirements.

Last season, Bateman collected 1,219 yards on 60 passes with 11 touchdowns, part of a fierce receiver tandem with Tyler Johnson, now of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But in the offseason, a bout with COVID-19 gave him similar symptoms to a bad flu, with the addition of losing his sense of taste and smell.

But in the six weeks Bateman was opted out of the team, living off-campus in a downtown Minneapolis condo, he realized just how much he missed his team.

“It was a very lonely time because I wasn’t with my teammates,” Bateman said back in October. “You’re going through everything else in the world. You’re not sure where to look, left or right. I mean, I’ve had a football season every fall for practically my whole life. … And not participating in football in the fall, especially with this team and my brothers here and this staff and this university, it really took a toll on

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Bateman ends his Gophers career by opting out again

Rashod Bateman opted out, opted back in and is now out again.

The star Gophers receiver announced Wednesday on Twitter that he plans to forgo the rest of the 2020 season. This came amid a COVID-19 outbreak for the 2-3 Gophers, who had to cancel Saturday’s rivalry game at Wisconsin.

“After further dialogue with coach [P.J.] Fleck and my family,” Bateman wrote, “we decided that after this most recent COVID-19 outbreak and the cancellation of the weekend’s game, that it made the most sense to begin to focus on the next stage of my life.”

Bateman was one of the first notable opt-outs back in early August, citing concerns about playing safely in the coronavirus pandemic after becoming sick with COVID-19 himself during the summer. The Big Ten subsequently canceled and then reinstated its season with new safety protocols, including daily testing, that convinced Bateman to return.

He received special dispensation from the NCAA to come back, despite signing with an agency and taking money for housing, training and transportation. The projected first-round pick in the 2021 NFL draft hoped for one last hurrah with his teammates while possibly improving his draft stock.

Instead, the Gophers dropped their first two games of the season and have been inconsistent in all facets of the game. Bateman, a 1,000-yard Big Ten Receiver of the Year in 2019, had 36 catches for 472 yards and two scores through five games.

Fleck said in a statement he fully supports Bateman, who had two years of eligibility left, pursuing his dream.

“It was a joy to watch Rashod develop into an All-American receiver on the field and a strong, positive advocate for social change off of it,” Fleck said. “He is one of the best to ever represent Minnesota.”

The Gophers first announced a one-day halt to practice Monday night before formally shutting down the team the next day. The team announced 15 positive cases, nine players and six staff, with even more presumed positives just awaiting confirmation results.

Returning for the Northwestern game Dec. 5 is in focus, though Wisconsin and Maryland, the other Big Ten teams that have experienced outbreaks, both needed two weeks to control their spread. Beyond Northwestern, just Nebraska on Dec. 12 and a to-be-determined ninth game on Dec. 19, slated as an East-division matchup based on the standings, remain for the Gophers. The potential for a bowl game is nebulous, considering the pandemic has affected the number of games and the eligibility requirements.

Last season, Bateman caught 60 passes for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns as part of a fierce receiver tandem with Tyler Johnson, now of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But in the offseason, a bout with COVID-19 gave him similar symptoms to a bad flu, with the addition of losing his sense of taste and smell. But in the six weeks Bateman was declared for the 2021 NFL draft, living off-campus in a downtown Minneapolis condo, he realized just how much he missed his team.

These past

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Top Ten: Men’s college basketball players who aren’t Gophers

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Marcus Fuller’s potential team of Minnesota natives who left the state to star around the country.

McKinley Wright, Colorado

The Champlin Park guard is a candidate for Pac-12 player of the year, ranks second in school history in career assists.

Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga

One of the top freshmen in the country, the Minnehaha Academy product could be what the Zags need for another Final Four run.

Matthew Hurt, Duke

The former Rochester John Marshall star returned for his sophomore year to bolster a national title contender.

Dawson Garcia, Marquette

The 6-foot-11 Prior Lake big man and McDonald’s All-America was named Big East preseason freshman of the year.

Nate Reuvers, Wisconsin

Lakeville native is Wisconsin’s top returning scorer, making him the best player for the reigning Big Ten co-champion Badgers.

The next five: Brad Davison, Wisconsin; Ish El-Amin, Ball State; Trae Berhow, Northern Iowa; Race Thompson, Indiana; Jericho Sims, Texas

Others: Jamison Battle, George Washington; Isaac Johnson, Nicholls State; Theo John, Marquette; Rocky Kreuser, North Dakota State; Steffon Mitchell, Boston College; David Roddy, Colorado State; Tyler Wahl, Wisconsin; Kerwin Walton, North Carolina; Simon Wright, Elon

 

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Gophers receiver Rashod Bateman: Great year, great career

Great year, great career

Wide receiver Rashod Bateman left the Gophers to prepare for the 2021 NFL draft when it appeared the Big Ten wouldn’t be playing football this fall. The conference reconsidered, and so did Bateman. He’s back to add to his stats and awards. In 2019, Bateman was:

• Big Ten Receiver of the Year

• AP third-team All-America

• One of 12 finalists for Biletnikoff Award (nation’s top receiver)

• Had 177 receiving yards, two TDs at Purdue

• Had career-high 203 receiving yards, one TD vs. Penn State

• Had 147 receiving yards, one TD vs. Wisconsin

 

CAREER RECEIVING STATS

Season GP Rec Yds TDs Long Rec/G Catches/G Yds/G

2018 13 51 704 6 86 3.9 13.8 54.2

2019 13 60 1219 11 66 4.6 20.3 93.8

Total 26 111 1923 17 86 4.3 17.3 74.0

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