Tough stretch for Minnesota's Jon Hoese

Whether or not you're a Minnesota fan, you should be rooting for Gophers senior fullback Jon Hoese right now.

An emotional period for Hoese took a tragic turn Monday night, as his father, Terry, died following a stroke. Terry Hoese suffered the stroke Aug. 26, a week before Minnesota opened the season against Middle Tennessee.

Jon Hoese, a co-captain for the Gophers, strongly considered not traveling to the game to be with his ailing father. Hoese ended up making the trip, and all he did was score a career-high three touchdowns, including the game-winner, and recovered a fumble on a kickoff return that sealed a 24-17 victory.

Four days later, he had to say goodbye to his dad.

"I spoke to Jon shortly after his father passed, and it's been a hard thing," Minnesota head coach Tim Brewster said Tuesday. "Obviously, he played against Middle Tennessee with a very heavy heart. He played extremely well, and one of the most inspiring moments I've ever had in sports is giving Jon Hoese the game ball, knowing that the ball was going to his father."

Brewster isn't sure if Hoese will be back for Saturday's home opener against South Dakota, but his presence on the field at Middle Tennessee meant a great deal.

"Jon Hoese's loved," Brewster said. "He's loved by this team. He came here as a walk-on, he's an elected captain now and one of the better players on our team. It was so special to see the support that our team, the Gopher family, gave the Hoese family.

"That whole family's meant so much to the Gophers, and it's just a tough time. But Jon is hanging in there."

I know I speak for many of you in passing along my condolences to Hoese and his family. It'll be good to see him back on the field again, but only when he's ready.