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Hayden Goethe, Published October 18 2010

Goethe: FCS Dakota schools left their impression on Brewster era

North and South Dakotans should feel just a little guilty.

After all, didn’t their institutions of higher learning have a little something to do with the dismissal of University of Minnesota head football coach Tim Brewster on Sunday?

Brewster – in his fourth season at the helm of the Gophers – was fired Sunday, just one day after losing to Purdue 28-17. That loss dropped Brewster’s career record to 15-30.

He energized the fan base with talk of a Rose Bowl appearance when he took over at Minnesota after receiving his first head coaching job at the collegiate level. But later that year, it took about three hours on a Saturday afternoon to let the air out of Gopher Nation when Minnesota lost in front of its home fans to North Dakota State.

Gophers fans never got that Rose Bowl appearance from Brewster. In fact, when looking back at his tenure as head coach, it’s hard to find any signature games. At least, none that reflect favorably on him.

There was the 27-21 loss to NDSU in Brewster’s initial season in 2007.

There was another loss to an area Football Championship Subdivision school this season, when the University of South Dakota’s offense ran up and down the field en route to a 41-38 victory. That loss started what has become a six-game losing streak.

And the Gophers nearly lost to a third Dakota school during the Brewster era, when in 2009 they escaped TCF Bank Stadium with a 16-13 victory against South Dakota State.

These games against the Dakota schools – dubbed the “Brewster beaters” - are the ones that stand out from Brewster’s tenure.

And in a wicked twist of fate, Brewster’s final game as head coach came against a Boilermakers team that on Saturday celebrated the 10th anniversary of the school’s second trip to a Rose Bowl. In honor of the 2000 team, the current Purdue players wore helmets with a picture of a rose intersecting the iconic black “P.”

Watching players with roses on their helmets run at will against the Minnesota defense seemed emblematic of the big empty Rose Bowl promise of the Brewster era.

Gophers fans would love to see their team get to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1962. But it will take baby steps. A good first step would be finding a way to handle those pesky Dakota FCS teams.

Readers can reach Forum Assistant Sports Editor Hayden Goethe at (701) 241-5558 or hgoethe@forumcomm.com