Daily Press (Sunday)

Exiting QB gets surprise

Longtime backup will make only college start in bowl

- Sonny Dearth

Having grown up in Virginia, I’m watching closely to see how James Madison (my alma mater), Virginia Tech and Liberty fare in their bowl games. But my favorite story otherwise in this bowl season regards Cole Kramer, a longtime Minnesota Golden Gophers backup quarterbac­k from Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

He played in three games in 2019, none in ’20, eight in ’21 (throwing just three passes), eight more in ’22 but just three this season as the Gophers finished 5-7.

According to si.com, after spending five years on the team, he was planning a wedding with fiancée Katie Miller, was moving to Arizona and was trying to find a full-time sales job.

But as Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast, my friend.”

Because there weren’t enough eligible teams to fill all of the bowl slots, Minnesota gained a spot even with a sub-.500 record. The Gophers, who have won six straight bowls, were assigned to Tuesday’s Quick Lane Bowl against Bowling Green in Detroit.

With Minnesota’s other QBs either injured or in the transfer portal, Kramer started getting calls from the Minnesota coaches. He’ll make his first and only college start Tuesday.

“Got some calls that I would be the starting quarterbac­k, and as a little kid that grew up in Minnesota, that was my dream ever since I was little,” Kramer told si.com Monday. “So it was an obvious yes, and just can’t wait to get out there with the guys I’ve been with the past four or five years.”

Despite a popular rumor, Kramer’s decision to stay didn’t have anything to do with $30,000 in name, image and likeness (NIL) money.

“I saw the posts and the articles, and you know, that’s not true. It’s not accurate informatio­n, as much as I would love for that to be true.”

At every level, sports are all about memories. This should make a good one. Merry Christmas.

Crouse, U.S. team pursue Paris berth:

Virginia Beach’s Leah Crouse has made the United States’ roster for the Olympic qualifying tournament next montgh in Ranchi, India.

Crouse starred for Cox High, Duke and then Maryland. She and her teammates for the U.S., the world’s 15th-ranked squad, will start pool play against No. 6 India on Jan. 13 at 9 a.m.

The Americans’ next two matches will be at 6:30 a.m. Jan. 14 against No. 19 Italy and at 6:30 a.m. Jan. 16 versus No. 9 New Zealand.

The top two teams from that pool join the top two from the other four-team pool in the Jan. 18 semifinals. The championsh­ip match and third-place match are Jan. 19, and the top three teams will qualify for the Paris Games.

About two weeks ago, New Jersey/New

York Gotham FC won the National Women’s Soccer League, reversing the script after a 2022 season that included 12 consecutiv­e losses.

You might not have noticed that one of that franchise co-owners is 1991 William & Mary graduate Jennifer Tepper Mackesy, a former Tribe soccer player.

According to W&M, she is part of a Gotham ownership group that includes her husband, 1991 W&M graduate and former tennis standout Scott Mackesy, and household names Eli Manning, Sue Bird, Kevin Durant and Carli Lloyd.

The scoreboard at the Tribe’s outdoor tennis center is named for Scott Mackesy. The Mackesys also are part of the ownership group of Chelsea FC with 1996 W&M alumnus and major athletics supporter Todd Boehly.

Big-time owners: What’s coming up Thursday:

The Boo Williams Holiday Classic, the best annual girls basketball tournament in Hampton Roads, begins its threeday run at the Boo Williams Sportsplex in Hampton. At 7:30 p.m., a first-round game in the elite Gold bracket pits the teams heading the 757Teamz Top 15: No. 1 Menchville and No. 2 Princess Anne.

The Old Dominion men begin Sun Belt basketball play with a 7 p.m. game at Chartway Arena against South Alabama.


 ?? ABBIE PARR/AP ?? Minnesota quarterbac­k Cole Kramer’s first and only college start will come in the Quick Lane Bowl, which he hadn’t planned to play in.
ABBIE PARR/AP Minnesota quarterbac­k Cole Kramer’s first and only college start will come in the Quick Lane Bowl, which he hadn’t planned to play in.
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