We have broken down every aspect of the game elsewhere, but here are five more items for inquiring minds to know about the Gophers’ season-opening game Thursday night (6 p.m. kickoff) against New Mexico State:
1. Yes, the home team is wearing white
Because New Mexico State’s white road uniforms haven’t arrived yet — insert your own one-liner here — the Gophers will wear white uniforms for the opener. That’s very Minnesota nice of them.
2. About that weather
While Thursday midday looks like it will be glorious — 75 and sunny — clouds could roll in after kickoff, with temps in the high 60s. Rain is expected after midnight.
3. Don’t freak if you see freshmen playing
When several true freshmen see action for the Gophers — three are in the starting lineup — they haven’t necessarily burned a season of eligibility. Under a new NCAA rule that coaches have universally saluted, a player can play in up to four games without using a season of eligibility. Play in a fifth, and you lose a year.
4. Fair catches on kickoffs?
Another new rule is meant to cut down on kickoff returns, and in turn improve player safety. If a player makes a fair catch inside his 25-yard-line, the result now will be a touchback to the 25.
5. Something for the taste buds
TCF Bank Stadium concessionaires have upped their game with more premium food options in the concourse this season. A few of the highlights: walleye tacos from Northern Taco; sesame chicken with veggie fried rice from Lotus Restaurant; and poutine from Uffda! Also coming in strong is the Over the Top Gopher Shake, topped with a specialty doughnut, from Scoop’d premium ice cream. One bit of advice: You might need a friend or two to finish it.