You might remember last season's trip to play in Dolphins Stadium against Florida Atlantic. I remember it as the most frustrating game of the Tim Brewster era. In front of about 13 people, the Owls took advantage of 7 turnovers to win in overtime. Back at my old stomping grounds I did a game thread on that September Saturday.
Here are a few snippets to jog your memories.
"Um. Not a good start. The Owls started off with a no huddle that had our lads compeltely surprised. And if they weren't 'surprised,' they sure handled it poorly."
"Um. More sieve-like defense. FAU marches down the field quickly despite horrendus field position. The secondary provided little in terms of resistence."
"YIKES! The Gophers are now down by 14 because they can't stop the wideout screens of FAU."
"OMG. OMG. Harold Howell fumbles again."
"And the hits just keep on coming. Adam Weber and a wideout (Wheelright? not sure, I was typing here) miscommunicate on a pattern and its intercepted. That's a mental mistake. There have been many of those today. Oh, and Harold Howell almost fumbled again. My buddy from Syracuse here is wishing the Gophers were on the Orange's schedule. Sad."
Oh, and by the way, that was just in the first half! But my point here is this. The Gophers, on the road in a horrible atmosphere, with a bunch of kids (Weber and Howell) made far too many mistakes. With Weber's increased maturity, I think we'll see fewer giveaways.
We don't need to bring out stats to know what happened last season. Minnesota was not prepared for FAU's passing attack, and if they were prepared they certainly had nowhere near the right personnel to stop it. Rusty Smith scorched Minnesota's defense. Remember, at this time last year, Everett Withers still had the Gophers trying to play anti-Mason ball on defense, meaning they were trying to blitz to cause pressure. We never got to the quarterback and our already questionable secondary was further exposed.
Thankfully, the secondary is at least somewhat improved. And Minnesota has been winning the turnover battle. If that stays true Saturday, I fully expect the Gophers to avenge its loss to the Owls and enter Big Ten play 4-0.
And I really hope this is the case, because we're going to liveblog here Saturday and I really don't want to relive last year's debacle.