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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Los Angeles - C. Frias 2:10 PM
Colorado - J. De La Rosa
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Boston - C. Buchholz 6:05 PM
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Washington - B. Treinen 6:10 PM
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Miami - H. Alvarez 6:10 PM
NY Mets - D. Gee
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Chicago WSox - C. Sale 7:10 PM
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LA Angels - C. Wilson
Texas - D. Holland 9:05 PM
Oakland - J. Samardzija
Philadelphia - C. Hamels 9:10 PM
San Diego - E. Stults
Tampa Bay 9/18/14 7:25 PM
Atlanta
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 9/18/14 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
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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.
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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