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.

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Pregame: Nelson gets the start at quarterback for Gophers

Posted by: Joe Christensen under Gophers game day Updated: September 28, 2013 - 2:52 PM

All week, it looked like Mitch Leidner would start at quarterback for the Gophers.

But during pregame warmups, Philip Nelson lined up with the first-team offense, and Leidner was with the second team.

Nelson hasn't played since he strained his right hamstring in the second quarter of the Western Illinois game two weeks ago. Leidner was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week after rushing for 151 yards and four touchdowns last week against San Jose State.

Update: Nelson indeed got the start.

PREVIEW

The Big Ten season is finally here for the Gophers, who will play Iowa today at TCF Bank Stadium in the battle for Floyd of Rosedale.

It was windy and rainy on my way into the stadium, but the hourly forecast on Minneapolis+MN+55455:4:US">Weather.com says it should be cloudy for kickoff and clear up a bit during the game.

By now, if you're caught up on all our Gophers coverage, check out this game preview from the Cedar Rapids Gazette. It's a good reminder that Ra'Shede Hageman could have make an impact going against a retooled interior offensive line for the Hawkeyes.

I caught up with Hageman this week and he made it clear that last year's 31-13 loss in Iowa City did not sit well with the Gophers over the offseason.

"We definitely think about that," he said. "Coaches bring it up just to motivate us to work a little bit harder because you never know, that motivation might help us win the game."

Iowa led last year's game 24-0 at halftime.

"I wouldn’t say we were physically beaten up, but we got outplayed," Gophers guard Zac Epping said. "We’ve got to play more physical. The more physical team’s going to win, and we’re up to the challenge."

The Gophers are wearing their all maroon uniform combination, which brought wins this year against UNLV and San Jose State. Iowa is wearing its traditional white jerseys, black helmets and gold pants.

I'll post any other pregame updates here.

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