Last season against Iowa, Maroney ran for 156 yards and three touchdowns, but an anemic passing game doomed the Gophers to a 29-27 loss.Maroney ran for 145 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown, against Michigan last year. A final drive breakdown by the Minnesota defense spelled a 27-24 loss that Saturday.Two years ago, Maroney ran for 81 yards and two touchdowns against the Wolverines at the Metrodome, but a monumental fourth quarter collapse by the defense meant another Minnesota loss to Michigan.In total, that’s four career-defining games for Maroney, and four crushing Gophers defeats.He will likely leave Minnesota for the riches and stardom of the NFL after this, his junior season.And what will the Gophers have to show as a program after three years with one of the best Big Ten running backs of the past decade? Only three second-tier bowl games and plenty of wasted opportunities.Maroney could well be the best running back in school history. It’s just a shame for Maroney that the program couldn’t emerge from its own shadow of failure during his tenure.– Matt Anderson welcomes comments at [email protected] Maroney’s talent doesn’t add up to winsLaurence Maroney’s presence hasn’t yielded a program breakthrough.October 18, 2005Jump to CommentsShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via EmailPrintA little juke past a Wisconsin linebacker and he was gone. Laurence Maroney’s speed took him past the Badgers’ secondary into the end zone for a 93-yard touchdown run.It seemed that would be the key play for both Maroney and the Minnesota football team in what looked like it would be a huge home win Saturday.The end of Minnesota’s stunning 38-34 loss changed what the game will be remembered for, but Saturday also proved the perfect microcosm for the Maroney era in the Twin Cities.For all that Maroney has done for the team in his time at the University, the Gophers haven’t reciprocated much to the star back.He will leave campus as the best player in Minnesota’s recent history, which is precisely why this season and the past two have been such a pitiful waste for the football program.Maroney has provided excitement, talent and a reason to watch the Gophers through his time at Minnesota. But despite that, the program hasn’t done anything special.His first two years finished with disappointing records of 10-3 and 7-5. Though the team tallied 10 wins in 2003, the way it happened was disappointing. The Gophers beat four nonconference cupcakes and beat just two Big Ten teams that went to a bowl game.Whatever the final record this year, it will be at least as inadequate a season as the past two.That Minnesota let another superlative Maroney performance on Saturday go to waste – 258 yards and two touchdowns – should be a surprise to no one. It’s happened too many times before.