MINNEAPOLIS -- A weeklong smokescreen, a surprise decision, and a stubborn commitment.
And a bronze pig riding comfortably back down I-35.
Often-devious Minnesota coach Jerry Kill never ruled out starting Philip Nelson at quarterback against rival Iowa. But with the team's first-stringer thought to be operating at less than 100 percent earlier in the week, it was widely expected Mitch Leidner would fill in for the second contest in a row.
Yet somewhere between the start of pregame warm-ups and Saturday's 2:30 p.m. start time, Nelson told Kill he was good to go.
And Kill listened.
"We felt comfortable," Kill said after Minnesota's 23-7 loss. "If he could play, he would."
But rather than return and help reclaim Floyd of Rosedale in front of a hyped, 50,000-strong homecoming contingent, Nelson didn't appear much more comfortable than he had limping off the TCF Bank Stadium turf with a hamstring injury two weeks ago.
The sophomore hesitated to run through the few open holes a sta...