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Minnesota Football: Gophers’ season opener vs. Ohio State set for 7 p.m. kickoff

Kickoff times announced for Minnesota’s first five games of the season

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 13 Minnesota at Ohio State Photo by Adam Lacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Big Ten has announced that the Minnesota Golden Gophers’ season-opening football game against the Ohio State Buckeyes on Thursday, Sept. 2, will kickoff at 7 p.m. at TCF Bank Stadium.

The game will be televised on FOX.

The conference also announced that the Gophers’ Sept. 11 game against the Miami (Ohio) RedHawks will kickoff at 11 a.m. and air on ESPNU. Minnesota’s Sept. 18 road trip to Colorado will be a noon kickoff and the game will be televised on the Pac-12 Network. The Gophers will wrap up their non-conference slate and celebrate Homecoming with an 11 a.m. kickoff against the Bowling Green Falcons on Sept. 25, a game that will air on an ESPN family network TBD. Minnesota’s trip to West Lafayette to play Purdue on Oct. 2 will kickoff at 11 a.m with TV TBD.

The Buckeyes were Big Ten champions last year, finishing the season 7-1 after suffering a 52-25 loss to Alabama in the College Football Playoff National Championship. Ryan Day’s squad will need to replace five starters on both sides of the ball, including first round draft pick Justin Fields.

Neither Miami (Ohio) nor Bowling Green were the class of the Mid-American Conference last season. The RedHawks only played in three games and finished the year with a 2-1 record. The Falcons lost every game, going 0-5 to rank dead last in the MAC East.

The Buffaloes finished second in the Pac-12 South with a 4-2 overall record and a 3-1 conference record. They ended the year with a 55-23 loss to Texas in the Alamo Bowl, but return at least 80% of their 2020 season production on both sides of the ball.

Minnesota survived a back-and-forth affair against Purdue last season, as the Boilermakers stumbled to a 2-4 finish in their fourth year under head coach Jeff Brohm.