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GAME THREAD: Gopher Football opens the season hosting FCS South Dakota State

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The season is finally here, Gophers open with the Jackrabbits

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: AUG 31 Buffalo at Minnesota Photo by David Berding/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Well the season has finally arrived and the Gophers get things started with an FCS opponent. This is the first time the Gophers are playing an FCS level team since 2016 when they ended up finishing 9-4. And this is the first time playing the Jackrabbits of South Dakota State since 2009 when Tim Brewster’s squad was able to squeak by with a 16-13 win.

But this is year 3 of the PJ Fleck regime and this is a team that has Gopher Nation rather excited. This is a very good FCS program, currently ranked #3 heading into the season. One team that the Gophers better not look past, but also one that a team who wants to be in the mix for winning the Big Ten West should absolutely beat.

3 KEYS

  • Dominate the Line of Scrimmage - Key #1 for a reason and probably the most important thing to watch for. A rather good (and huge) offensive line should really win the line of scrimmage here, giving the running backs huge holes to run through, then letting the offense get creative en route to a lot of points.
  • Get to the Quarterback - The Jackrabbits are breaking in a new quarterback for the first time since 2015. J’Bore Gibbs is a redshirt freshman from Chicago and making his first start memorable with pressures, sacks, hits, picks and generally a horrible day would be fantastic.
  • Zero Turnovers - The one thing that can give the Jackrabbits confidence the grows throughout the game would be turnovers. The ball is the program.

OPPOSING PLAYERS TO WATCH

  • #15-WR Cade Johnson - Senior receiver who had 17 touchdowns last season and is poised to finish as one of the most productive Jackrabbit receivers in program history. Johnson also returns kicks, he is a play-maker worth watching.
  • #4-K Chase Vinatieri - Nephew of Adam and a very good kicker.

PREDICTION

There is so much excitement for this coming season and the Gophers really do have a shot at competing for the Big Ten West division title. But it starts here with FCS SDSU and if you want that latter to be a reality, you have to take care of business tonight.

This Gopher offensive line is going to dominate. SDSU may put up some points, they have scored 41 in recent years against FBS teams TCU and Kansas. They may score, they may put up a valiant fight. But this offensive line is going to be the MVP and the Gophers win.

Minnesota - 31
Opponent - 18