Two teams coming off of opening week losses will try to get themselves on the right track on Saturday, as the Minnesota Golden Gophers will open up their home season when they host the New Mexico State Aggies at TCF Bank Stadium.
While these two teams are coming off losses in the first week of the college football season, the manner that they lost was quite different. The Golden Gophers put together a solid second half against the heavily favored USC Trojans, but a last-minute interception sealed Minnesota's fate in a 19-17 loss at the Coliseum. New Mexico State, on the other hand, allowed 241 yards rushing and lost at home by 20 points, 44-24, to Ohio University. New Mexico State, by contrast, had just six yards rushing on the afternoon, though that was partially offset by the 362 passing yards put up by Aggies quarterback Tyler Manley.
The Gophers could, potentially, have a mini quarterback controversy on their hands after the season opener. Starter MarQueis Gray was minimally effective in the first half of play against USC, as the Gophers managed to score just three points and went into the locker room down 19-3. Gray moved the team markedly better in the third quarter, but cramps forced him out after the last play of the quarter, giving the team over to true freshman Max Shortell. The stats for both quarterbacks were relatively similar. . .Gray completed 7 of 13 passes for 98 yards, while Shortell completed 7 of 12 for 94 yards, along with one touchdown and one interception.
On paper, the Gophers would appear to be the better team. We all know that football games aren't played on paper, but it would be a bit of an upset if the Golden Gophers managed to walk away a loser in Jerry Kill's first home game as the team's head coach.
Kickoff from TCF Bank Stadium this Saturday is scheduled for 2:30 PM Central time. You will be able to watch the game on the Big Ten Network, if you have it in your area. Otherwise, you'll have to listen to the radio broadcast on KFAN-FM 100.3, or KTLK-AM 1130.