Chart: 2013 Gophers football at a glance

  • Updated: August 24, 2013 - 10:45 PM
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Minnesota Gophers vs. Purdue Boilermakers football. Minnesota won 44-28. Gophers quarterback Philip Nelson completed a downfield pass. (MARLIN LEVISON/STARTRIBUNE(mlevison@startribune.com (cq -all names program) ORG XMIT: MIN1210271908593538 ORG XMIT: MIN1308231336366052

Photo: MARLIN LEVISON • mlevison@startribune.com,

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Gophers at a glance

The Gophers open their season Thursday against UNLV at TCF Bank Stadium. Here is a quick primer on the team as that first kickoff approaches:

Last year: 6-7 (2-6 Big Ten), lost to Texas Tech 34-31 in Meineke Car Care Bowl.

Head coach: Jerry Kill, 136-89 in 19 years, third season at Minnesota.

Returning starters: Nine on offense, six on defense.

Key departures: QB/WR MarQueis Gray, QB Max Shortell, WR A.J. Barker, WR Devin Crawford-Tufts, DE D.L. Wilhite, CB Troy Stoudermire, CB Michael Carter, LB Mike Rallis, LB Keanon Cooper, K Jordan Wettstein.

Key returnees: Sophomore QB Philip Nelson, junior RB Donnell Kirkwood, sophomore OT Josh Campion, senior DT Ra’Shede Hageman, senior LB Aaron Hill, senior S Brock Vereen.

Key newcomers: LB Damien Wilson, LB De’Vondre Campbell, WR/QB Donovahn Jones, DE Hendrick Ekpe, RB Berkley Edwards, WR Eric Carter, WR Drew Wolitarsky, K/P Ryan Santoso.

Schedule analysis: The Gophers should cruise past their first three opponents (UNLV, New Mexico State and Western Illinois). San Jose State went 11-2 last season and has one of the nation’s best quarterbacks in David Fales. If the Gophers win that one and defeat Iowa at home, they could be 5-0 with momentum heading to Michigan and Northwestern. After that, there’s a winnable game at Indiana, while Nebraska, Penn State and Wisconsin all visit TCF Bank Stadium.

Three keys to the season

1 An offense that scored 17 or fewer points eight times last season has most players back and needs to be more productive. The Gophers will rely heavily on the run behind a bulked-up offensive line. Nelson (above), who started seven games last year as a true freshman, might have a short leash if he’s not effective because redshirt freshman quarterback Mitch Leidner has come on strong.

2 The defense improved last season, especially against the pass, but the Gophers need to prove they can stop the run. They have a strong defensive line and much more depth in the secondary, but the linebackers are a big question. If Wilson and Campbell — both junior college transfers — come in and play well, this defense could be pretty good.

3 Like most teams this time of year, the Gophers believe they are bigger, stronger and faster. But injuries piled up quickly last year, as they used three quarterbacks (Gray, Shortell and Nelson) and three centers (Zach Mottla, Zac Epping and Jon Christenson). The Gophers got healthier in the month leading to their bowl game and played some of their best football all season in the loss to Texas Tech.

Predicted finish: 7-5 overall, 3-5 Big Ten, fifth place in the Legends Division.

JOE CHRISTENSEN



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San Francisco 4 Top 6th Inning
Pittsburgh 0
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
Washington 1 FINAL
Buffalo 6
Carolina 3 FINAL
Columbus 6
Pittsburgh 2 3rd Prd 5:53
Detroit 0
Montreal 0 2nd Prd 9:49
Chicago 0
Arizona 1 2nd Prd
Edmonton 1
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pm30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 am
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

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