“The 7 years were all the more worth it”

Gophers wide receiver and 7th-year senior Clay Geary celebrated his first career touchdown in Saturday’s 49-7 win over Colorado. (University of Minnesota Athletics)

Clay Geary wasn’t going to let a knee injury in 2021 mark the end of his college football career at the University of Minnesota.

The former Lakeville South footballer already has degrees in finance, marketing and business management. He is in graduate school and is now in his seventh season with PJ Fleck and the Gophers. In Saturday’s 49-7 win over Colorado, he caught his first career touchdown pass.

On an 8-yard throw from Tanner Morgan with 3:46 left in the third quarter, Geary surged forward into the corner of the end zone and managed to get not one, but both feet inbounds . It would have been good by NFL standards, and it gave Minnesota a 42-0 lead.

“It’s all the more worth seven years. It’s what I’ve been preparing for ever since I came here as a freshman, and to see it finally come to fruition, it felt good to me. ‘get rid of it,’ Geary said. .

The veteran receiver and special teams expert could be more active on offense, with top receiver Chris Autman-Bell now out for the rest of the 2022 season. It hasn’t been an easy road for Geary. He played one game as a rookie in 2017 and then appeared in 18 games over the next two seasons, mostly on special teams.

Geary had five catches for 50 yards in 2020 and then sat out all of 2021 due to injury. He never guessed coming back for a seventh season.

“It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up knowing I couldn’t imagine letting injury dictate how I left my mark on this pitch. When Coach Fleck gave me the opportunity to return , I wasn’t going to say no,” Geary said. “I’m an incredibly determined person, I wasn’t going to let something like this ruin everything I’ve worked for.”

Geary had three catches for 65 yards against Western Illinois two weeks ago and took advantage of his lone catch against the Buffaloes. He was ready when his number was called and his teammates swarmed him in celebration.

“We practiced that game, I was ready for the moment. Literally any guy in the reception hall could have gone in there and run that road and made the game, I just got lucky let it be just me,” Geary said. “I was ecstatic, couldn’t help but smile. It was pretty cool.”

It was one of Tanner Morgan’s three touchdown passes that day.

“Talk about a guy with a lot of guts, that’s Clay Geary. Everything he’s been through in the last year, just fighting for opportunities to get on the court, being able to throw a tuddy at him was enough. special to me. Super proud of him,” Morgan said.

GOPHERS DEFENSE MAKES DOMINANT START IN MICHIGAN STATE

After three home games to start the 2022 season, the Gophers hit the road to open the Big Ten season at Michigan State. In three games, Minnesota outscored its opponents by a combined total of 149-17. The Gophers’ starting defense allowed just three runs.

The Gophers take the No. 2 total defense (170.3 yards per game), No. 4 passing defense, No. 9 rushing defense and No. 4 scoring defense at East Lansing. After beating Colorado, linebacker Mariano Sori-Marin called the three runs the starters allowed to Western Illinois two weeks ago “unacceptable.”

“Whether there are points or not, we always look at bad plays, regardless of the number of points,” said safety Jordan Howden. “There is always something to improve, that’s how we see it, regardless of the score.”

For nose tackle Trill Carter, it’s about attitude and mentality across the entire defense.

“Everything we do is about our mindset and that’s how we approach every game. Our mindset is the strongest,” Carter said.

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