Gophers Host San Jose State Spartans - OPEN THREAD

USA TODAY Sports
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TV: ESPN2
Game Time: 11:00 AM
Radio: 100.3 FM, 1130 AM

Gopher Football takes a step up in competition this week and will be facing a solid team coming off an 11-win season who just happens to have an NFL caliber quarterback under center.

The Stats

Minnesota Golden Gophers San Jose State Spartans
Points / Game 41.3 18.5
Pass Yards 116.7 332.0
Rush Yards 258.7 88.5
3rd Down % 44.1% 35.8%
Key Offensive Player to Watch David Cobb
David Fales
Points Allowed/Game 18.7 17.0
Pass Yards 213.7 199.5
Rush Yards 121.3 141.5
3rd Down % 35.4% 55.6%
Key Defensive Player to Watch Ra'Shede Hageman
Bene Benwikere

3 Keys

Maroon_key_medium Slow down the passing game - This really might be the ONLY key. SJSU is a passing teamam that will live and/or die by the arm of David Fales. If he is well protected and his receivers are getting open, then I really don't like the Gopher's chances. On the other hand if we can get some pressure on him and cover the receivers I don't see how this team beats us. This will be a very good test for our secondary and I'll be intrigued to see how well our linebackers react to the mid-level coverage area.

Maroon_key_medium
Avoid the slow start -
This has been a point of emphasis for the team this week but it is an absolute must. If we get down early it is certainly going to be tougher to get back into this one. San Jose State has size defensively, they have experience and talent in the passing game and they are not a stranger to facing BCS teams. A fast start for the Spartans would be a huge confidence builder and

Maroon_key_medium Pass Rush - Last week the Gophers moved Ra'Shede Hageman around on the line more and it resulted in a sack for him, 2 for Theiran Cockran and seven tackles for losses as a team. The Gopher defensive line has for the most part controlled the line of scrimmage the past two games, but they need to amp up their QB pressure this week. UNLV and New Mexico State lived (for a while) on a very quick passing game. I expect San Jose State will attempt some quick passes but will also be more willing to use 5-step drops and expand their passing game. This is when the Gopher defensive line need to get the pressure on Fales.

This should be a good test for the Gophers, particularly the pass defense. I'm a bit nervous about this one and it is kind of a lose-lose situation here. For your casual sports fan this win will be viewed as a nothing special, who is San Jose State anyway? A loss will be viewed as embarrassing and catastrophic. We are favored but a loss here is not unfathomable. Just get the win and move on to Iowa...PLEASE!

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