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Minnesota Football: Golden Gophers Host Western Illinois - OPEN THREAD

Game Time: 11:00 AM
Radio: 100.3 FM, 1130 AM

The Leathernecks, led by former Minnesota-Duluth head coach Bob Nielson, who won a DII national title for the Bulldogs, are taking the field today against the Gophers. This year's FCS opponent is not as strong as previous FCS opponents and this should be a big win for the Golden Gophers.

The Stats

Minnesota Golden Gophers Western Illinois Leathernecks
Points / Game 47.5 38.0
Pass Yards 113.0 374
Rush Yards 281.5 437
3rd Down % 43.5% 50.0%
Key Offensive Player to Watch Philip Nelson Trenton Norvell
Points Allowed/Game 22.0 7.5
Pass Yards 239.5 383
Rush Yards 148.0 127
3rd Down % 38.2% 35.0%
Key Defensive Player to Watch Ra'Shede Hageman Devon Butler

3 Keys

Maroon_key_medium Get the passing game going - This isn't exactly a key to winning the game but it would make me feel a whole lot better as we start to face higher caliber teams next week. Get some rhythm in the passing game and rack up 250 yards, which I don't think is asking very much. I know we are a running team and we will force the issue on the ground but I'd like to see some improvement in the passing game.

Convert 3rd downs -
This is another area where I would just like to see some improvement, since I'm not necessarily worried about the outcome of this game. Convert a high percentage of 3rd downs and keep the Leathernecks off the field. Again, I don't think this is unreasonable nor is it too much to ask. Even 3rd and longer, we can make some plays and give the offense some confidence building opportunities.

Maroon_key_medium Limit their big plays - No big plays for their offense as the result of being out of position or making glaring mistakes. Game three and the schedule only gets more difficult, this is the one where the defense needs to start putting things together and making fewer mistakes.

I predict a big, big win and I'd like to see one where the Leathernecks don't make it to double-digits.