“We want to play our game,” Gophers receiver Derrick Engel said. “We want those guys to be in a low-scoring game with us, and hang on to the ball and control the ball throughout the game. If we can play our game and make them stoop to our type of football, that’d be better for us.”
The Gophers have scored an average of 16.1 points in their past 11 Big Ten games, going 2-6 in conference play last season and are 1-2 this year. During that span, they’ve exceeded the 20-point mark only once, in last year’s 44-28 victory over Purdue.
In those 11 games, the Gophers failed to score a point on their opening drive. Counting nonconference play, the Gophers are 0-for-7 in their attempts to score on opening drives this year. A better start might help Saturday, especially playing at home with several thousand Cornhuskers fans in attendance.
“Every single week that’s something we talk about, being able to be a team that comes out the first quarter and starts attacking right away,” Gophers quarterback Philip Nelson said.
The Gophers haven’t announced who will start at quarterback between Nelson and Mitch Leidner, but Claeys has said both will play. Either way, the Gophers will look to build off last week’s victory.
“There were like four or five plays that happened to go against us, like a touchdown getting called back and a couple penalties,” Claeys said. “And I think that was the first time our kids didn’t have the attitude, like, ‘Oh, here we go again.’ ”
The Gophers offense produced 13 points against Northwestern. They’ll need more than that to win these next two games.