Fans might not love 11 a.m., kickoffs, but the Gophers have turned these morning starts into an advantage.

On Saturday at Illinois, the Gophers will play their fourth consecutive 11 a.m., game, and sixth of the season. They are 4-1 in these games this year and 15-5 in their past 20, since the start of the 2013 season.

“I think it helps when you go through the whole year having to wake up early to do your morning workouts, and fall camp having to wake up early,” quarterback Mitch Leidner said. “Luckily, that's kind of helped prepare guys through the course of the year."

Leidner said he usually rises at 6:20 for 11 a.m., games. He’s grown used to that schedule but mentioned the benefits of some extra sleep when kickoff comes later.

After Saturday, the Gophers next two games will start later. The Nov. 5 home game against Purdue is at 2:30 p.m., and the Nov. 12 game at Nebraska is a 6:30 p.m., game.

The kickoff times for the Northwestern (Nov. 19) and Wisconsin (Nov. 26) games will be announced as those games get closer.

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