Just in time for the close of the 2012 season, the Gophers have finalized their 2013 football schedule.
With the final details ironed out, New Mexico State has returned a signed contract to Minnesota for a two-game, home-and-home series with the Gophers, executive associate athletic director David Benedict confirmed Tuesday. The deal, along with a formal announcement, awaits only AD Norwood Teague's signature. A preliminary version of the contract called for each home team to play the visitor approximately $200,000, making it a financial wash.
The contract calls for the Gophers to face the Aggies in Las Cruces, N.M., next Sept. 7, with New Mexico State making a return trip to Minneapolis on Sept. 14, 2014. Those dates replace Minnesota's originally scheduled games with North Carolina, a contract cancelled earlier this year by Teague at Gophers coach Jerry Kill's request. Minnesota paid the Tar Heels $800,000 to cancel that deal.
The Gophers will be trying to avenge a loss when they travel to Aggie Memorial Stadium next September; New Mexico State defeated Minnesota 28-21 in TCF Bank Stadium last September in the teams' first meeting ever. The Aggies are 1-9 this season, 0-5 in the Western Athletic Conference, a league that will drop football after this year.
Linebacker Brendan Beal suffered another knee injury Saturday at Nebraska, Kill said, and is out for this Saturday's game against Michigan State. Beal already has missed two complete seasons after tearing ligaments in one of his knees, and Kill said he sat with the junior in the locker room after the Cornhuskers' game. Kill said he is praying for Beal. "That kid has been through so much," the coach said -- because he believes the injury is serious.
Marcus Jones, another player who has missed time following knee surgery, reinjured his left knee against the Huskers, Kill said, but his injury is not believed to be as serious as Beal's.
Offensive lineman Mark Lenkiewicz suffered a left knee injury as well, but Kill described him as "questionable" for Saturday.
And defensive tackle Roland Johnson is out after injuring the ACL in a knee Friday night -- during the team's non-contact walk-through.
Tight end Drew Goodger is out after dislocating one of his shoulders against Nebraska.