Joe Christensen covered Major League Baseball for 15 years, including three seasons at the Baltimore Sun and eight at the Star Tribune, before switching to the college football beat. He’s a Faribault, Minn., native who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1996. He covered Jim Wacker’s Gophers for the Minnesota Daily and also wrote about USC, UCLA and the Rose Bowl for the Riverside Press-Enterprise before getting this chance to cover football again.

Email Joe to talk about the Gophers.

Rise and shine: Gophers face Western Illinois at 11 a.m.

Posted by: Joe Christensen under Gophers game day Updated: September 14, 2013 - 10:23 AM

It's a nice, cool morning here at TCF Bank Stadium, where the Gophers will kick off against Western Illinois at 11 a.m.

Minneapolis+MN+55455:4:US?pagenum=1&nextbeginIndex=0"> says it'll be 64 degrees at kickoff. It'll be cloudy during the game, but the rain is supposed to hold off until later tonight.

It'll be interesting to see how competitive Western Illinois can make this game under first-year coach Bob Nielson, who won two national championships at Minnesota-Duluth. Here's Patrick Reusse's column on Nielson.

Here's my preview story, with a focus on how the Big Ten is trying to do away with these games against FCS teams. And here's my prediction.

Western Illinois is 2-0 after wins over Hampton and Division II Quincy. The Leathernecks have a player named Hi-C Scott, a junior college transfer who had three catches of more than 20 yards against Quincy.

The Gophers are wearing their gold jerseys and maroon pants today.

Donnell Kirkwood (sprained ankle) isn't expected to play, but he moved around great during warm-ups.

For quicker updates, follow us on Twitter, @JoeCStrib @AmeliaRayno @RandBall. And join the conversation in the Star Tribune's Live Blog.

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