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: Underdog Gophers get ready for high-flying Indiana offense

Posted by: Joe Christensen under Gophers game day Updated: November 2, 2013 - 2:12 PM

BLOOMINGTON, IND. – Perfect football weather here, as the Gophers look to make it three straight Big Ten upset wins when they play Indiana at 2:30 p.m., on Big Ten Network.

It’s homecoming for the Hoosiers, who are nine-point favorites. The Gophers are 2-16 in their past 18 games here at Memorial Stadium and haven't played here since 2007.

Minnesota (6-2, 2-2 Big Ten) was a 12 1/2-point underdog against Northwestern, and a 10-point underdog against Nebraska, but won both of those games.

Why would Indiana (3-4, 1-2) be such a big favorite today? Part of it is the Gophers needing to prove themselves. The Hoosiers have a win over Penn State (44-24), and they were competitive in losses to Missouri (45-28), Michigan State (42-28) and Michigan (63-47).

Indiana ranks last in the Big Ten in most defensive categories, but the Hoosiers can really score. They have 51 plays this season of 20 yards or longer, and they've scored 19 touchdowns this year on drives that took fewer than 90 seconds.

The forecast calls for 54 degrees at kickoff. The Gophers will be wearing their white jerseys and gold pants. Neither team named a starting quarterback coming into the game, so it’ll be Mitch Leidner or Philip Nelson for the Gophers, and Nate Sudfeld or Tre Roberson for Indiana.

Follow along on Twitter: @JoeCStrib

Update: Gophers RB Rodrick Williams (turf toe) did not make the trip.

Update: Nelson lined up with the first-team offense, and Leidner was with the second-team during warmups.

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