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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Cincinnati - M. Leake 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Minnesota - T. May 6:05 PM
Baltimore - M. Gonzalez
NY Yankees - C. Capuano 6:07 PM
Toronto - M. Buehrle
Philadelphia - D. Buchanan 6:10 PM
NY Mets - J. deGrom
Boston - A. Ranaudo 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - C. Archer
Miami - T. Koehler 6:35 PM
Atlanta - E. Santana
Cleveland - D. Salazar 7:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Vargas
Detroit - J. Verlander 7:10 PM
Chicago WSox - S. Carroll
Texas - S. Baker 7:10 PM
Houston - B. Oberholtzer
Chicago Cubs - K. Hendricks 7:15 PM
St. Louis - S. Miller
Colorado - C. Bergman 8:40 PM
Arizona - J. Collmenter
Oakland - J. Lester 9:05 PM
LA Angels - J. Weaver
Los Angeles - D. Haren 9:10 PM
San Diego - A. Cashner
Washington - J. Zimmermann 9:10 PM
Seattle - F. Hernandez
Milwaukee - W. Peralta 9:15 PM
San Francisco - R. Vogelsong
Atlanta 24 FINAL
Jacksonville 14
Detroit 23 FINAL
Buffalo 0
Indianapolis 7 FINAL
Cincinnati 35
Kansas City 14 FINAL
Green Bay 34
NY Jets 7 FINAL
Philadelphia 37
St. Louis 13 FINAL
Miami 14
Carolina 10 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
New England 13 FINAL
NY Giants 16
Washington 24 FINAL
Tampa Bay 10
Baltimore 22 FINAL
New Orleans 13
Chicago 13 FINAL
Cleveland 33
Denver 27 FINAL
Dallas 3
Minnesota 19 FINAL
Tennessee 3
San Francisco 40 FINAL
Houston 13
Arizona 9 FINAL
San Diego 12
Seattle 31 FINAL
Oakland 41
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 FINAL
Washington St 38
Weber State 14 FINAL
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 37 FINAL
Vanderbilt 7
BYU 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 9:30 PM
Arizona
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Houston 7:00 PM
Sporting Kansas City
Ottawa 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Minnesota 9:00 PM
Phoenix
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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 pm
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pm
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. TBA
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
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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