When soft is hard
If you see “Indiana State” on the Gophers schedule and think “blowout,” cool your jets. The Gophers of the Jerry Kill/Tracy Claeys Era have not throttled nonconference opponents from non-Power 5 conferences. The Gophers have just one loss in these early games the past five seasons (Kill’s first season was 2011), but there have been several close calls:
2015 Score Note
at Colorado St. W, 23-20 (OT) Mitch Leidner had to lead a comeback for OT victory.
Kent State W, 10-7 Gophers couldn’t move the ball against the Golden Flashes.
Ohio W, 27-24 U needed a TD with 30 seconds remaining to win.
2014 Score Note
E. Illinois* W, 42-20 Defense shines; Gophers led 35-0 in second half.
Mid. Tenn. W, 35-24 Gophers gave up 24 in second half but hung on.
San Jose St. W, 24-7 Game was 10-7 Gophers in second quarter.
2013 Score Note
UNLV W, 51-23 Big number, but Gophers scored 21 in fourth to pull away.
at N. Mex. St. W, 44-21 Gophers controlled most of the game, added 14 in fourth.
W. Illinois* W, 29-12 In the fourth, Gophers scored 14 and shook loose.
San Jose St. W, 43-24 Another 14 in the fourth to finally pull away.
2012 Score Note
at UNLV W, 30-27 (3OT) Opener could not have been closer: three-OT thriller in Vegas.
New Hamp.* W, 44-7 U put up 30 in first half in perhaps biggest blowout of this era.
W. Michigan W, 28-23 Gophers had to hang on in close one, scored just seven in second half.
2011 Score Note
New Mex. St. L, 28-21 Kill’s first home game: He had a sideline seizure, and U lost.
Miami (Oh.) W, 29-23 Kill got his first W as Gophers scored 13 in the fourth.
N. Dak. St.* L, 37-24 Bison bulldozed Gophers, scoring 28 second-quarter points.