Zack Annexstad

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Dwayne Haskins leads No. 3 Ohio State past upset effort from Minnesota

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Minnesota (3-3, 0-3 Big Ten) had their chances but the Gophers were unable to pull off a major upset on the road in the Big Ten. No. 3 Ohio State (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten) walked away with a hard-fought 30-14 win to remain undefeated and in charge of the path to a Big Ten championship.

Dwayne Haskins, who was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week each of the past two weeks, should be on his way to a third straight weekly award from the Big Ten after passing for 412 yards and three touchdowns in the win. It was the second-straight week Haskins passed for at least 400 yards to help Ohio State pull away from a potential upset bid at home. Minnesota did well in not allowing the Buckeyes to gain an advantage in the running game, but KJ Hill was a receiver the Gophers just had no answer for. Hill caught two of the touchdown passes from Haskins and led all players with 187 receiving yards.

Minnesota freshman running back Mohamed Ibrahim was finding running lanes for much of the afternoon against Ohio State, as he rushed for a career-high 158 yards and two touchdowns, but Minnesota couldn’t find enough in the tank to cash in on a few opportunities. Zack Annexstad was intercepted twice and has now been intercepted seven times in the last three games after starting the season without a pass picked off in the first four games of the year.

Minnesota trailed Ohio State 17-14 at halftime but missed two field goals in the second half. Ohio State scored 10 points following those two missed field goals.

Ohio State will now prepare for a road game next week at Purdue. It will be another primetime game for the Buckeyes away from home, with games against TCU and Penn State also having been played under the lights already this season.

Minnesota will be back on the road again next week when they visit Nebraska.

Minnesota names true freshman walk-on Zack Annexstad starting QB

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He didn’t have a scholarship. It didn’t matter. Zack Annexstad will be the starting quarterback at Minnesota this season.

Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck made the quarterback announcement on Monday, making Annexstad the rare walk on to win a starting job at a power conference. So, will he be the next Baker Mayfield? Let’s slow down just a bit on that one.

Annexstad was a two-star recruit in Minnesota’s Class of 2018. The pro-style quarterback had to walk-on though as Minnesota used scholarships in other positions to enhance the depth on the roster as Fleck continues to build a foundation for the future of the program. But the IMG Academy product held some other offers from FBS programs, including Pitt, Cincinnati, Southern Miss, and Western Kentucky according to his Rivals profile.

In early June, Minnesota’s quarterback depth took a hit when Vic Viramontes transferred shortly after joining the program as a JUCO transfer. The abrupt loss of Viramontes left Minnesota with four quarterbacks lacking experience. Now, Minnesota’s quarterback potential is a bit unknown going in, but Fleck will not be shy about spreading enthusiasm about his new starting quarterback at any given opportunity.

Minnesota opens the 2018 season on Thursday, August 30 at home against New Mexico State.

Minnesota QB Vic Viramontes transferring leaves Gophers with 4 inexperienced QBs on roster

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Just months after joining the Minnesota program as a JUCO transfer, quarterback Vic Viramontes is reportedly looking to find a new place to continue his football career. According to a report from Pioneer Press, a desire to play a different position is what Viramontes is interested in.

Viramontes came to Minnesota in January as a sophomore, and he played quarterback for the Gophers in the spring game. In that game, Viramontes split playing time with Zach Annexstad, in which he completed one of three passes for one yard and rushed for 21 yards with two fumbles.

Viramontes previously committed to California after flipping from Michigan out of high school. After redshirting with the Bears as a freshman, Viramontes took his game to Riverside Community College in California and passed for 1,868 yards and 22 touchdowns and rushed for 1,346 yards and 21 touchdowns, making him one of the top dual-threat quarterback options out of the JUCO ranks. But after a rough spring showing at Minnesota, Viramontes having a desire to play a new position is an interesting development, and clearly, a change in scenery is also desired as a result for one reason or another.

Last November, former starting quarterback for Minnesota Demry Croft made a decision to transfer, which resulted in a move to FCS Tennessee State. Viramontes was supposed to add some depth and some starting experience to the depth at Minnesota, but now the position will be a bit more young and inexperienced going into this season without any further incoming transfers. Tanner Morgan, a redshirt freshman, appears to be the likely starter for the Gophers this season. Annexstad, a walk-on freshman, could potentially be the first backup option after the spring. As of now, Minnesota has two other redshirt freshmen listed on the official roster at quarterback; Samuel Pickerign and Jon Santaga.

UPDATE: According to Randy Johnson of the Star Tribune, Viramontes is going back to Riverside to play linebacker.