One area where the Gophers have improved dramatically since the start of last season is their two-minute offense.

In three of four games, they've successfully driven down the field to get a field goal right before halftime. Emmit Carpenter hit a 45-yarder as time expired on the second quarter against Oregon State, and a 42-yarder in that same spot against Indiana State.

At Penn State last week, the Gophers got the ball at their own 13-yard line, leading 10-3 with 1:13 remaining in the half. In previous years, they might have been content to go to the locker room with that seven-point lead. But one quick first down made the difference.

"My philosophy in general on that, if you can get to the 20-25-yard line, I'm not afraid to go try to get something, if you have a timeout or two left," coach Tracy Claeys said. "And if you don't, there's no sense in it. But a lot of that has to do with having a senior quarterback who controls things very well."