One year ago MInnesota fans thought Tim Brewster's trying first season as head man would be granted a reprieve when North Dakota State rolled into the Metrodome.
We know how that turned out.
One year later, sitting at 2-0, Brewster and the Gophers face another team that all prognosticators expect them to pad the win total by beating. This year it's Montana State. The result better be different then one season ago.
The Bobcats arrive in Mineapolis this weekend fresh off a thrashing at the hands of Kansas State (69-10). A Division II opponent, the Bobcats shouldn't provide much in terms of competition for our Gophers, but this is Gophers football and nothing should be taken for granted. With that in mind, here's a quick look at the Bobcats from Bozeman Montana.
The Bobcats' rushing attack was actually OK against K-State. Demetrius Crawford, a senior running back, ran for 90 yards on 17 carries last week. The week before, when Montana State destroyed Adams State 59-3, Crawford went for 100 on 20 carries. Passing game? Not so much. Quarterbacks Mark Iddins and Cody Kempt combined for an uninspiring 17-for-35 for 108 yards last week. MSU's top receiver has been tight end Brandon Bostick.
Montana State's embarrassing loss last week was made moreso in part because of four turnovers. It will be interesting to see if Minnesota can continue to force turnovers against a team obviously prone to turning the ball over.
For what it's worth, Montana State head man Rob Ash has been impressed with the Gophers.
“This sounds like coach-speak, but Minnesota is very much improved. We have four games from last year that we watched all summer, and now we have two games from this season, and they are much improved. They’re much more athletic, they’re quicker on offense, they’ve improved their speed, their execution of the spread offense is much better this year than last year. Obviously the second year of running the spread helps them a lot. I’m impressed. With two wins under their belt they’re going to have much more confidence, and I think this is going to be a good football team.”
I'm hoping this is the type of game that allows Shady Salamon or any other young player to get some valuable time on the field. With the loss of Duane Bennett, it will be important to see if Mike Dunbar gets an athlete like David Pittman involved. Here's hoping the Gophers get up early, so Eric Decker can rest and Adam Weber can spend some time getting to know the likes of Brandon Green and the other newcomers.