MINNEAPOLIS — Gophers quarterback Mitch Leidner earned honors Monday for his efforts in his first career start Saturday against San Jose State.
Leidner was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week after he ran for four touchdowns and 151 rushing yards in the Gophers’ 43-24 win over the Spartans. He became just the second quarterback in team history to rush for four touchdowns and the first player with four rushing touchdowns in a game since Marion Barber III in 2003.
Leidner, a redshirt freshman from Lakeville, got the start Saturday in place of sophomore Philip Nelson, who was sidelined with a hamstring injury. Nelson was the first Gopher to ever garner Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors when he won it last October. The award has been handed out since 2010.
It remains to be seen which of the Gophers’ two quarterbacks will start this Saturday when Minnesota opens conference play by hosting Iowa at TCF Bank Stadium. Given Leidner’s impressive performance over the weekend, it might be hard for the Gophers to not play him Saturday.