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Receivers step up for 21st-ranked Minnesota




The Gophers have outscored their opponents 183-24 and rank near the top of the FBS in several statistical categories as as team.

MINNEAPOLIS — Michael Brown-Stephens was taking off his shoulder pads in Minnesota’s boisterous locker room last weekend, eager to join the celebration of a statement win at Michigan State when he noticed a phone being passed around with fellow wide receiver Chris Autman-Bell looped in on FaceTime.

“No offense to Crab,” Brown-Stephens said, using his injured teammate’s nickname. “I forgot all about him.”

The Gophers tried to do that on the field, too.

After Autman-Bell was hurt in the 49-7 win over Colorado on Sept. 17 and had season-ending surgery on his lower right leg, Minnesota was suddenly missing its best pass-catcher and a sixth-year leader from a group that struggled over the previous two seasons with consistency and health.

What followed in the Big Ten opener in Lansing gave the Gophers quite a confidence boost — if they even needed one.

Tanner Morgan completed passes to 10 different players, with six catches for 73 yards by Brown-Stephens leading the production. Dylan Wright had three receptions for 54 yards, and Daniel Jackson had two touchdown catches.

“You hate to see things like that happen, but I was called upon a lot to step up and bring the guys with me,” Brown-Stephens said. “I feel like just going into the week, game prepping and just preparing for everything, everybody just had a sense of, ‘We’ve got to be better. We’ve got to go out there and make up for this.’”

Morgan went 23 for 26 for 268 yards in the 34-7 victory over the Spartans that kept the Gophers (4-0, 1-0) unbeaten atop the West Division and pushed them into the Associated Press rankings at No. 21 for the first time in nearly two years.

The passing performance served as yet more evidence, with offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca back in sync with Morgan and head coach P.J. Fleck following two seasons elsewhere, that the Gophers can move the ball just fine without solely relying on star Mohamed Ibrahim and their conference-leading running game.

“We have guys that we trust that can go out there and make plays, and they’re showing it to us at a consistent level,” Morgan said. “They’re only going to continue to go out there and get better.”

RELATED: Could the Minnesota Golden Gophers be a top 5 team? | Ron Johnson Show

Even factoring in the level of nonconference competition, the Gophers could hardly be playing better at this point of the season. They’ve outscored their opponents 183-24 and rank near the top of the FBS in several statistical categories as as team. Then there’s Ibrahim, who is second in the country with 567 rushing yards in a remarkable return from a torn left Achilles tendon.

Purdue’s defense will have its hands full on Saturday afternoon at Minnesota.

“You’ve got to figure out a way to make them uncomfortable, figure out a way to create pressure,” Boilermakers coach Jeff Brohm said. “You’ve got to figure out a way to put them in more passing situations than they would like. Because if you don’t, they’re in control of the game. They have been very, very effective doing that.”

The Gophers lead the FBS in possession time with an average of 40:33 per game.

“They make you bleed,” Brohm said. “They make you bleed, and if you don’t find a way to bandage it up or do something to strike back, it can be a long death.”


Morgan is in his sixth year, one of Fleck’s original recruits and a player so mature he got married over the summer. Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell is also off the market after a July wedding and is a sixth-year player who has put himself near the top of the program’s all-time lists in rare air with the likes of eventual NFL passers Drew Brees, Kyle Orton and Jim Everett.

O’Connell’s status, however, is unclear for Saturday. He was held out of last weekend’s 28-26 win over Florida Atlantic with an unspecified injury suffered in the first quarter on Sept. 17 in a 32-29 loss at Syracuse. O’Connell finished that game, but Austin Burton took his place after that. Brohm said Michael Alaimo would likely take some snaps, too, if O’Connell is still sidelined.

“Both those guys worked hard last week and we’ve got to try to utilize them as well as we can,” Brohm said.


Minnesota is one of 21 remaining undefeated teams in the FBS, one of four in the Big Ten and the only one in the conference’s West Division. Georgia and Washington are the only others in the country who have yet to trail at any point this season.


Brohm beat Fleck when they were both Big Ten rookies, a 31-17 victory by the Boilermakers at home in 2017. The Gophers have won the last four matchups, though, and eight of the last nine games in the series overall.


This is Minnesota’s homecoming game, and fans have been encouraged — depending on their seating section — to wear either maroon or gold clothing in hope of creating a two-tone hue around the stadium bowl. The university has dubbed this the “ Stripe Out ” game.

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Dog attack leaves 7-year-old with visual injuries




A dog attack has left a 7-year-old girl with scrapes on her legs and back and cuts on her lips.

BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. — A 7-year-old who was hurt in a dog attack Tuesday is still processing what happened.

“I was just walking and then it pushed me and started attacking me,” said Yamah Yekeku.

She went to drop off a package at her neighbor’s home. Then the dog ran toward her.

“It’s is third time chasing somebody,” Yekeku said.

Her mother Mary Innis pointed out the scrapes on her legs and back, and the little cuts on her lips.

The dog who attacked her is a part of 13-year-old Yazmina Warsame’s family.

“She was really sweet, she was very playful,” she said.

Warsame said her dog’s name was Diamond, a 1-year-old Pitbull.

“Diamond didn’t mean to hurt nobody, she just wanted to play and they killed her for it,” she said.

Brooklyn Park Police and shot killed the dog because they said it went after another child.

“The animal actually ran into a playground area, a park area in an apartment complex and there were two young children that were in the park. The dog took off after one of the children and was trying to bite that child,” said Brooklyn Park Police Precinct Inspector and Public Information Officer Elliot Faust.

Faust said a cadet lifted the child up to his shoulder to protect him.

“The dog was jumping up actively trying to bite the child and that’s when one of our officers shot him,” Faust said.

He said the 7-year-old was treated for her injuries at the scene. Innis said she took her daughter to the doctor’s office on Wednesday to get a rabies shot as a precaution.

Tuesday’s incident was the second dog attack to happen within Brooklyn Park. A 3-year-old was attacked by two Pitbulls, last Friday. Faust said the child’s injuries were extensive, and he’s still recovering in the hospital. He said that attack was the worst dog attack he has ever seen.

“These are not common, they don’t happen frequently, so it is kind of strange that we’re talking about two in one week,” Faust said.

Faust want community members to be more aware of their surroundings and to understand their dog. He said they’ve had more dangerous dog designations so far this year than all of last year.

“As a dog owner it is your responsibility to take control of the animal,” Faust said. One mistake that happens can have tragic consequences.”

Warsame said her dog was just hyper. Diamond also had long nails, Warsame said they were planning to cut.

She’s heartbroken her dog is gone and doesn’t understand why police had to kill her. She wants people to know her dog wasn’t mean.

“People take advantage of the way a big dog looks, they don’t know her personality, so people might have called her mean and I don’t people to think Diamond is mean, and I feel like it’s important to share. She wasn’t a mean dog, she was never a mean dog,” Warsame said.

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MN church group stranded for days in New Orleans




The group was originally supposed to be home this past Saturday.

MINNEAPOLIS — A Twin Cities church group is on its way home tonight, after spending the last few days stranded in New Orleans.

“We are really sick of the airport,” Leisha Tays, supervising the trip, said in a FaceTime call from the airport.

That trip, to the Evangelical Lutherans in America Youth Gathering, was supposed to end this past Saturday.

“Every once in awhile, it would just get bumped back farther and farther and farther,” she said.

That group from Our Saviours’ Lutheran Church in East Bethel consists of 14, mostly made up of kids. Tays says it’s been a challenge to figure out their next steps with a group so big.

“It is frustrating, but I also know it’s nothing I can control,” Tays said. “That’s what I keep telling my kids that I’m here with, is that you can only control yourself.”

“Doing our best, what else do you do, right?” she added.

To keep themselves busy, they’ve spent time exploring New Orleans, a vacation that they were initially alright with extending. They quickly realized there were challenges that came with that, including working through Delta’s vouchers, which covered not nearly enough for a group their size.

“We have been given three $12 meal vouchers per person, which doesn’t really cover much,” Tays said. “Especially in four days.”

They made it through thanks to donations from their church members back home, donating to keep the crew fed.

“A lot of details, and everything went great until it didn’t,” Lisa Rykken Kastler, Director of Congregational Ministries for the church, said.

“There wasn’t even an ask, the situation was such that, ok, you’re gonna need money,” Rykken Kastler added.

At the time of this article’s writing, Tays tells KARE11 that they’re finally taxiing, ready to take off and come home – a vacation they can’t wait to end.

“We’re just exhausted, you know?” she said. “There’s the emotional and the physical exhaustion that’s going on, and we’re ready.”

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Met Council asks cities to sign-off on Blue Line Extension plans




The Met Council is asking several cities to sign off on the preliminary design for the Blue Light Extension.

BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. — The communities along the proposed METRO Blue Line Extension are getting a chance to review and discuss the proposed plans with the public. 

The METRO Blue Line Extension is anticipated to be 13.4 miles between Target Field and Brooklyn Park, and would also run through Crystal and Robbinsdale. The Met Council hopes to start service in 2030, and estimate total ridership would be nearly 30,000 daily trips. 

Now, community leaders will be asked to consent to major project elements like where stations are located and where tracks will go. According to the Met Council, many project details haven’t been determined and the plans leave a lot of room for future design choices.

“This process gives people an opportunity to participate in the line through their elected officials,” said Met Council Chair Charlie Zelle in a press release. “This is a big investment that will serve our region for the next 100 years.”

Each of the municipalities will hold a public meeting and then vote before October 10, the Met Council said. 

“No matter how well we design a project, we need each city to let us know how it will fit into their neighborhoods and serve their communities,” said Zelle. “We’ve held weekly meetings for the past four years to ensure our designs are on the mark. But it’s up to each city council to approve preliminary design plans or recommend changes.”

The proposed plans can be viewed by clicking here.

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