Eastern Illinois 20
Mitch Leidner and the Gophers had a sluggish start offensively, but they built a 14-0 lead by halftime and made it 35-0 in the fourth quarter before Eastern Illinois scored on its final three drives.
What was learned
When Leidner isn’t misfiring, the offense moves pretty well. Donovahn Jones (three catches, 57 yards, one touchdown) and Berkley Edwards (four rushes, 60 yards, two touchdowns) showed their big-play potential.
What you might have missed
• Wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky (shoulder) and left tackle Ben Lauer (ankle) did not play, but coach Jerry Kill said both will be back for the next game.
• Leidner’s backup, Chris Streveler, rushed five times for 21 yards in his college debut. He completed his only pass, a 12-yard strike to true freshman tight end Brandon Lingen.
• Middle linebacker Damien Wilson matched a career high with 10 tackles and appeared to be quicker at 240 pounds than he was last year at 255.
• The Gophers forced three turnovers, and it would have been four if Jalen Myrick’s interception weren’t wiped out by a De’Niro Laster personal foul.
Middle Tennessee State
2:30 p.m., Sept. 6,
TCF Bank Stadium
TV; radio: BTN; 100.3-FM
Records: Gophers 1-0, Middle Tennessee 0-0
The skinny: The Blue Raiders open their season Saturday against Savannah State, an FCS opponent. Middle Tennessee went 8-5 last year, including a loss to Navy in the Armed Forces Bowl. This year, MTSU is picked to finish second behind Marshall in Conference USA. Ninth-year coach Rick Stockstill has put together back-to-back eight-win seasons. The Blue Raiders need to replace quarterback Logan Kilgore, who set the school record for career touchdown passes. There was a three-man battle, but Stockstill named sophomore Austin Grammer the starter.