There are moments during a season when the result of a football game take a back seat to more important issues. In the case of the Minnesota Golden Gophers, who dropped their second straight game Saturday, concerns for head coach Jerry Kill took precedent over any worries about on-field performance.
Kill, 51, was taken to a nearby hospital following the game after suffering a seizure. He suffered the seizure in the coaches locker room and was accompanied to the hospital by his wife.Kill was reported to be resting comfortably and the school hopes to be able to share more information on the health status of their head coach sometime on Sunday.
Kill, unfortunately, is no stranger to seizures either. In 2005 Kill suffered a seizure while coaching Southern Illinois in 2005 in the late moments of a loss to Illinois State. The seizure actually led to Kill being diagnosed with kidney cancer, which has sent been put in remission. Last season Kill was taken to a hospital after collapsing on the sideline while coaching Minnesota. The cause of the collapse was another seizure suffered in the final minutes of a game against New Mexico State. Kill has also suffered seizures in 2000, 2001 and 2006.
We all wish Kill a speedy recovery of course, and hope he is able to continue coaching if he so desires to do so. Coaching football is a tough passion to give up, but at what point will it be time to seriously consider stepping away from the game for Kill? Obviously nobody should be able to make that decision but Kill, and his family. But three seizures suffered while on the job in six years is beyond alarming for most people. Would he have suffered these seizures if not coaching? Nobody knows for sure. Maybe he would, maybe not. Nobody knows, and nobody can say for sure.
I think we can all agree though that we all want what is best for Coach Kill.
As for the game itself, Northwestern became the first bowl eligible team from the Big Ten by improving to 6-1. After blowing an 11-point fourth quarter lead at Penn State last week, Northwestern was able to close out a win on the road against the Gophers. The win keeps the Wildcats among the top of the Big Ten's Legends Division with Nebraska rolling in to Evanston next week. It was another solid performance for Venric Mark with 182 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.
For Minnesota, it was another dose of reality it seems. After starting the season off with a surprising 4-0 record, the path to the postseason is beginning to look steeper for the Gophers. Minnesota has now dropped two straight games in conference play and now they head to Madison to take on a Wisconsin team that appears to have regained some form after their big win at Purdue today. Minnesota also has Michigan, Nebraska and Michigan State remaining, as well as woeful Illinois. Are there two wins in there to be found by Minnesota, who surely will continue forward this season playing for their head coach?