The Minnesota Daily writes that Saturday's tilt with Illinois will present the most difficult test for Tim Brewster's improved defense yet.
When I first thought about that, I quickly thought of Ohio State. But with a rusty Beanie Wells and a quarterback in his first Big Ten start, the Ohio State offense doesn't have anything on Juice Williams and the Illini. The Illini put up 655 yards on the Gophers last year. Let's repeat that, they put up 655 yards, en route to winning 44-17.
While Rashard Mendenhall accounter for a significant portion of Illinois' destruction last year, the 2008 version of the Illini is equally potent. Tom will be back this afternoon with a preview of Saturday's game. But from this recliner, it seems to me that if Minnesota has any chance of ruining Ron Zook's Homecoming party, Ted Roof's defense is going to have to significantly slow Juice Williams and the Illini spread.
Two weeks ago I wouldn't have had much confidence in that. But after Minnesota stalled Indiana's Kellen Lewis, I have some faith. What do you think? Can the Gophers stop Illinois on the road?
- Brewster's Gophers are dubbed an "On the Rise" team in this New York Times notebook on Big Ten football.
- Brewster provides a mid-season report, Q&A style to the UofM comunication folks. Read here.
- ESPN predicts a 34-24 win this weekend for Illinois.
- A lot of this story line this week.From the lead in the Springfield, Illinois State Journal-Register: "A program trying to rebuild under a coach known for his recruiting suffers early, then things start to take off." We're hoping.
- Michigan fans are getting a bit worried about Bryce McNeal's verbal commitment. M-Live.com notes the Minneaplis-Breck receiver is looking hard at Minnesota at this point, and Colorado as well.
- A Sarah Palin and Dan Monson connection. Not going to editorialize here!