MADISON, Wis. There's baptism by fire, and then there's this.
True freshman Philip Nelson found out Friday that he would be the starting quarterback for the University of Minnesota on Saturday against rival Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium. Already a hostile environment for visiting teams, it's an even more daunting task for a player making his college debut.
Nelson's first career start yielded mixed results in the Gophers' 38-13 loss. The freshman from Mankato went 13 for 24 for 149 yards, along with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
"It was really exciting," Nelson said. "It felt really great to be out there with my teammates. The coaches made the decision and went with it. I wasn't going to back down from an opportunity like that."
It was an opportunity Nelson said he dreamed about when he was growing up in Madison. His father, Pat, played for the Badgers in the late '70s, and many family members were at Saturday's game to witness the freshman's debut.
While both the B...