FRESNO, Calif. — If the Gophers’ 38-35 wild, double-overtime win over Fresno State wasn’t surreal enough late Saturday night, John Legend spoke to the team in the locker room after the game.
“I’ve never said this before in my life,” Legend said. “But, ‘Row The Boat!’ ”
Gophers players erupted in cheers at the world-famous performer’s impromptu message.
Legend traveled to support his nephew Michael Brown-Stephens, a true freshman receiver who didn’t play Saturday but was included in Minnesota’s travel roster for the game.
“Congratulations to everybody,” Legend said in a recording on his nephew’s Instagram page. “I’m proud of my nephew, but I’m proud of all y’all. Y’all fought hard, y’all came into a hostile environment and won. That was an incredible win.”
Gophers head coach P.J. Fleck asked his staff for a game ball as he stepped in to say to the team, “Now, listen, hold up. We’ve got to hurry up because he’s got to go. He’s got people. He’s got — he’s John freaking Legend.
“One of the game balls goes to Mr. John Legend!”
Legend — who’s won the EGOT, an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and a Tony — held up the ball to the players before exchanging “I love yous” and a hug with his nephew.
Off-camera Saturday, Legend was more candid with his nephew, per a quote from KFAN’s sideline reporter Justin Gaard.
“Glad you guys won,” Legend said, “because it would have been hard to come back if you took an L.”