Chart: Five questions for Gophers football in 2014

  • Updated: December 21, 2013 - 7:18 PM

Minnesota Gophers vs. Penn State. Minnesota won 24-10. Minnesota quarterback Philip Nelson looked for a receiver downfield as he rolled out of the pocket. (MARLIN LEVISON/STARTRIBUNE(mlevison@startribune.com) ORG XMIT: MIN1311091644269900 ORG XMIT: MIN1311222010201728

1. Always the question

Any mention of Gophers football invariably leads to Jerry Kill’s health. The Gophers coach has had a much-publicized struggle with seizures, and this season he missed the Michigan game and the second half against Western Illinois. Kill took a midseason leave of absence, then coached the latter part of the season from the press box. Winning four consecutive Big Ten games took the spotlight off his health, but he doesn’t want another season in which seizures force him to leave the team.

2. Rebuilding the foundation

The Gophers rank 27th nationally this season in scoring defense (22.3 points allowed per game), and the defense was a major reason for the team’s success. But it will lose key seniors: All-Big Ten performers Ra’Shede Hageman at defensive tackle and Brock Vereen in the defensive backfield. Big-play linebackers Aaron Hill and James Manuel also will depart, leaving some major holes to fill.

3. Receivers needed

The Gophers’ lack of depth and a deep speed threat at wide receiver were season-long problems. Senior Derrick Engel was largely responsible for making the passing game adequate, but he was lost an ACL injury before the Wisconsin game, one reason the team didn’t score an offensive TD in the final 10 quarters of the regular season. With Engel gone next year, Minnesota must upgrade its receiving talent if the offense is going to improve.

4. Nelson or ???

Philip Nelson looked like the answer at quarterback during the Gophers’ four-game Big Ten winning streak. But that streak was followed by losses to Wisconsin and Michigan State in the final two games, during which Nelson completed only 13 of 41 passes for 160 yards, with two interceptions and no TDs. Such inconsistency could put Nelson in a QB battle next fall with returnee Mitch Leidner and newcomer Chris Streveler, who was redshirted this season.

5. New faces

The Gophers’ ability to maintain the momentum generated by this season will depend in large part on help from the freshman class that was redshirted this season. Linebacker De’Niro Laster, who looked like a candidate to play before an August knee injury, could help ease the losses of Hill and Manuel. Safety Daletavious McGhee is a big hitter out of Georgia. On offense, Streveler, running back Berkley Edwards, wide receiver Eric Carter and 6-9 tight end Nate Wozniak are among those who could help.

Dennis Brackin

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Cincinnati - LP: J. Broxton 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: T. Watson 2
Minnesota - LP: T. May 1 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: M. Gonzalez 9
NY Yankees - WP: C. Capuano 6 FINAL
Toronto - LP: M. Buehrle 3
Philadelphia - LP: J. Diekman 1 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: J. deGrom 4
Boston - WP: A. Ranaudo 8 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: C. Archer 4
Miami - LP: C. Hatcher 2 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: D. Carpenter 5
Cleveland - WP: D. Salazar 6 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Vargas 1
Detroit - WP: J. Verlander 7 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: S. Carroll 1
Texas - WP: S. Baker 13 FINAL
Houston - LP: B. Oberholtzer 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: N. Ramirez 7 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: P. Neshek 2
Colorado - LP: R. Brothers 2 FINAL
Arizona - WP: B. Ziegler 5
Oakland - LP: J. Lester 0 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: J. Weaver 4
Los Angeles - LP: K. Correia 2 FINAL
San Diego - WP: T. Stauffer 3
Washington - WP: J. Zimmermann 8 FINAL
Seattle - LP: F. Hernandez 3
Milwaukee - LP: W. Peralta 2 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: R. Vogelsong 13
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
(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 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 10 2nd Qtr 2:10
UCF 3
Troy 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 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
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Houston 3 FINAL
Sporting Kansas City 1
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
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 71 FINAL
Phoenix 85
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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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