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The Monday Perspective: We Won the Game But The Expectations Game Was Lost

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Jerry Kill, Philip Nelson, Ra'Shede Hageman, Briean Boddy-Calhoun and the rest of the Gophers notched themselves a 51-23 win over a bottom third Mountain West team. This was the first time a Gopher team scored 50+ points in the 4+ year history of TCF Bank Stadium. Yet I feel like some Gopher fans and many who only pay half attention to Gopher football are disappointed in what was a dominating win. And my only explanation as to why people would be disappointed is that we didn't win the way we thought we were going to win.

Is this program at a place where we should be dissecting wins to see if we won enough? And was 28 points not enough? Or is it the fact that winning two of the three phases, when the losing phase is offense, isn't good enough. And to be honest I"m not sure we "lost" the offensive phase, it was just the least pretty.

I struggled with what to write for this week's perspective but ultimately I have 2 prevailing thoughts. This was game one and often times you need to work out the kinks. And secondly, this was still a 28-point win and we are in no position to complain about style points (which don't actually count as points anyway!).

The Gopher defense allowed a 75-yard opening touchdown to begin the game down 7-0. The Gopher offense was not in a great rhythm most of the night while their running backs were rather pedestrian (outside of one 69-yard run by David Cobb). And the box score doesn't indicate that this was total the Gopher domination that the actual score indicated it was. The problem mostly lies with the box score and those who watched the 1st quarter, turned off the TV and took a look at the box score the next morning.

But a four-touchdown win is still a four-touchdown win. And that is nothing to be ashamed about. Just take a look around college football over the weekend.

I'm not going to get on a soap box here and tell you how this was such a dominating performance that we should raise our expectations for the remaining 11 games. But I don't understand any of the disappointment because our running backs didn't rush for 120 yards each and our defense didn't throw a shutout. But this was still a win and clearly it gives this team some things to build on.

Yes, UNLV accumulated a lot of yards. But you need to keep in mind that they also had extra possessions due to the 3 Def/Special Teams touchdowns. Three extra possessions and 24 extra plays!

The Gopher defense made adjustments and for the most part did a very nice job. The opening drive was scripted and well-executed by UNLV. Briean Boddy-Calhoun stated in the post-game press conference that they really were unsure of what to expect from the UNLV offense. Obviously their plan of attack was quick passes, ball control and staying in a rhythm. This worked very well on the first series but eventually the Gopher defense made adjustments, slowing down their offense considerably. Giving up a 1st series touchdown isn't the end of the world if you make adjustments and your defense makes stops and big plays later.

The Gopher offense "only" accounted for 30 of the team's 51 points. It is also worth noting that we started inside our own 20 on three different occasions and twice put together drives that got them out of a hole, flipping the field position battle. The first we put together 8 plays and 31 yards after starting on our own 3. The second was a three-and-out. The last was an 86 yard touchdown drive to ice the game.

So what is my point? My point is that no win, especially a 28-point win, should be poo-pooed. The Gopher are not going to be in the hunt for the BCS Title game. It would take a remarkable and highly unlikely run for them to be in the hunt for a Big Ten Championship game. The standard we should be holding them to is, "are they better?" And the answer is a timid, "yes." This was a 28-point win that will still have plenty of correctable errors on the game film. A win is a win. This program is not nearly good enough to be upset if we don't win in prettier fashion. We won, we move on and hope for better execution in game 2.

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