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Air Force will be first opponent in U's new stadium

  • Article by: Chip Scoggins
  • Star Tribune
  • November 14, 2007 - 11:37 PM

The Gophers football team will play Air Force in its inaugural game in TCF Bank Stadium on Sept. 12, 2009, the school announced Wednesday.

"We knew how significant it would be to have a respected opponent, not only on the playing field but in the integrity of the program," Gophers athletic director Joel Maturi said. "Memorial Stadium was built honoring the veterans of World War I and we realize the importance of veterans to our state so we're just so ecstatic to get one of the military academies and especially the Air Force Academy."

Minnesota signed a home-and-home contract and will play at Air Force on Sept. 1, 2012. Marc Ryan, the Gophers associate athletic director who handles scheduling, had to shuffle games to finalize the agreement.

The 2009 schedule already was filled before the stadium agreement was completed. The agreement dictated that the Gophers could not open the season at home because of conflicts with the State Fair. Thus Minnesota moved the UNLV game to 2013 and the Miami (Ohio) game to 2014.

The Gophers still need a road opponent to open the 2009 season.

The new stadium opener will be the Gophers' first game against Air Force and third against one of the service academies. The Gophers defeated Navy 21-0 in 1962 and Army 24-8 in 1963.

In the dark

A mouse caused a major headache at the Gophers athletic buildings on Wednesday. School officials said a mouse caused several buildings, including Bierman and the Gibson-Nagurski football complex, to lose electricity for up to 16 hours.

"A 2½-inch mouse touched something and shorted something with its body" about 9:45 p.m. Tuesday, said Brad Hoff, chief administration officer for facilities at the U.

The football team was ready to practice outside but power was restored in time to practice indoors.

The timing could have been better. Wednesday was the first day of the early signing period for several sports. Maturi said he received several calls from recruits who were unable to fax their letters of intent to the offices. Maturi and/or his coaches directed recruits to fax the letters to Mariucci Arena, which had its power restored.

"We had some tenders from other sports go to different places on campus," Maturi said, laughing. "I don't know that we lost anybody, but it certainly was a frustration."

Chip Scoggins • ascoggins@startribune.com

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