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Gopher Football Preview: Eastern Illinois Panthers @ Minnesota Golden Gophers

The snarkiest and only gnome led preview series in the college football world returns!

Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

Hello there Gopher friends. A new Gopher football season is upon us. What does that mean? GNOMES! The gnomes are back once again to help me preview Minnesota's game each week as well as to summarize each week in the Big Ten. Need a refresher on how this works?

Every weekly preview will get an assist from one of the ever multiplying number of Gopher gnomes who stop by my cube to talk Gopher sports. The four non-conference games will be previewed by the Gopher gnome bench. They couldn't agree on which individual one of them would help with each non-con game, so instead they'll do all four as a group. Our non-con opponents should be very excited!


Opening Thoughts

Jimmy whats his face isn't the QB anymore. Eastern Illinois is not the team from last season. And you know what? The Gophers would beat that team anyhow. The gnomes want you to put away those fears you feel toward FCS opponents. They want you to come into the game relaxed and ready to enjoy yourself.

Their image for the week?



The gnomes are so calm they have decided to forgo snark and replaced it with a DISNEY CHARACTER.


When and Where:

6pm, Thurs Aug 28th, TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN


TV: Big Ten Network. and the BTN2Go app for your tablet or smartphone.

Radio: KOOL 108 (107.9 FM in the Twin Cities) and the Gopher Radio Network (Radio Affiliates). You can also listen to the game via the IHeartRadio app for your mobile device.

Weather Forecast:

For the tailgate:


At kickoff:


For the postgame party:



Where Are They From?

Charleston, IL (aka: middle of nowhere)


Last Season:

The gnomes would like to quote their friend gopherguy05's preview:

The FCS Panthers are coming off of a season of great success going 12-2 overall and 8-0 in the Ohio Valley Conference and winning their first FCS Playoff game before losing to eventual runner-up Towson.  They went into San Diego and smoked the Aztecs of SDSU 40-12 on their home field.  Their only other blemish on the season was a 43-39 loss to MAC Power Northern Illinois. They averaged an eye-popping 49 points per game last season while giving up only 21 points per game.

Players to Watch:

We again turn to the fine work of gg05:

Eastern Illinois still has several important players returning from last years outstanding team.  The passing game will still be sharp for the Panthers as both senior receiver Adam Drake and senior tight end Jeff LePak will return,  Both players were third team All-Americans in FCS last season and combined for over 2,000 receiving yards and 21 touchdowns.  Junior running back Shepard Little also returns for EIU.  He rushed for 1,563 yards and 15 touchdowns last season.  He also added two punt returns for touchdowns.  On the offensive line, the Panthers return a First Team All-American left tackle in Collin Siebert and first team Freshman All-American in right tackle Jimmy Lowrey. All three of the Panthers starting linebackers from a year ago will also be on the field in August.

Keys to the Game:

- Run them over: CFN, this Minnesota running attack can single-handedly gash an FCS defense. Gophers, go do that.

- Eliminate big plays: EIU wants to prove last year wasn't a fluke. Don't give them oxygen.

- Show improvement in the passing game: When the Gophers aren't running all over EIU I want to see Mitch and his receivers deliver with an efficient passing game. Let's get the passing attack started in the right direction from the get-go.

How Afraid Am I?

On a scale of 1 to 5 "Brewsters on his face" (1 being not a afraid, 5 being very afraid)?

I'm bringing back a favorite from last season...



I am so unafraid of Eastern Illinois (and so psyched for the season) that my chili is figuratively hot.

Completely Worthless Prediction:

We all enjoy this one. Gophers 31, Panthers 13.