MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Minnesota football coach Glen Mason has named Travis Cole as the starting quarterback for the Gophers' game against Purdue on Saturday, putting a quick end to what has become a weekly question this season.
"I think he gives us the best chance to win. But both of them will play," Mason said during his news conference Tuesday.
Asad Abdul-Khaliq, who has split time starting duties with Cole during the past two seasons, said he wasn't aware Mason had been named starter for the Purdue (2-0) game.
"Actually, the first I've heard about it is from you guys," Abdul-Khaliq said. "But I knew a decision had to be made, so I was prepared either way."
While Cole wasn't immediately available to the media, Abdul-Khaliq said there won't be any tension between the two.
"I'm not going to lay down and cry about it," he said. "I just have to be ready to go in and play if I'm called on."
Purdue coach Joe Tiller said he expected Cole to start.
"It's not a surprise to me because Travis played so well against us a year ago," Tiller said.
In that contest, Cole came off the bench and led Minnesota to 21 second half points after Abdul-Khaliq struggled. Purdue still won 38-24.
Mason said the quarterback situation is the least of his worries. He said the Gophers (1-1) have gotten very rusty since their last game -- a 44-14 win over Louisiana-Lafayette on Sept. 8.
Minnesota was idle last week and their Sept. 15 game against Baylor was canceled after the terrorist attacks.
"It's been a long time," Mason said. "We scrimmaged last Saturday, and I'm glad I did, because it was obvious. It looked like the first scrimmage we had in August. We're sure not game-ready right now."
Mason said he may even have players scrimmage for a few plays before Saturday's game.
"I've never done that before," Mason said. "But it's like going into a situation where it's your opening game and (your opponent) has already played a couple of games."
Purdue (2-0) played this past weekend, beating Akron 33-14.
Minnesota receiver Ron Johnson said his team won't come out flat against the Boilermakers in spite of the long layoff.
"I can't really see it," he said. "The only thing I can think of is some guys not being into it mentally after two weeks off."
Abdul-Khaliq said he'll be ready.
"I need to make plays when I'm in there," he said.
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