It was one of those games in which you kept expecting things to turn around and order to be restored. The Gophers knew from experience that FCS teams are super-motivated and surprisingly dangerous, they understood the importance of winning these early games with challenges like USC, Ohio State and Penn State ahead, and they looked arguably like a much-improved club last week in Murfreesboro.
     I asked a couple of other writers late in the third quarter, when the score was 28-24: Who wins this game? Both said the Gophers.
     Wow, were we wrong, and Dante Warren was the reason. He was hitting those slant patterns across the middle at will (and they were going for big gains after the all-too-inevitable slipped tackles) and running for big chunks of yardage. But his most impressive achievement was the way he answered every time Minnesota seemed to be making its move.
     The Coyotes reached the end zone on every other possession in the second half, scoring on drives of 82, 81 and 71 yards. Yeah, it's a problem.
     (Quick aside: Makes you wonder what all-Sun Belt QB Dwight Dasher may have done last week, doesn't it? I was a believer that Logan Kilgore was such a solid substitute that it may have not made a big difference, but now I'm thinking that Dasher may have run the bootleg similar to Warren.)
     And when South Dakota was trying to run out the remaining 3:21 on its final possession, Warren made a bold throw (with a brave call) on third-and 3, connecting with Dustin Nowotny on a short slant in traffic that ended the game. Have to hand it to the Coyotes, there was nothing lucky about how well they played.
     Minnesota coach Tim Brewster considered an onside kick when the Gophers pulled within 41-38, but decided, even with just one timeout remaining, to take his chances with his defense. It was a tough call at that point; can't blame him for it, especially since the young Gophers can't have a lot of experience with the tricky onside kick.
     "We just thought that the prudent move would be to get the ball deep and try to back them up, create some field position for us. We felt really confident that we were going to go three and out there," Brewster said. "And we felt really confident that if we went three and out there, there's not a doubt in my mind that we were going to win the game.
     "But we couldn't get off the field."
     It's now officially USC week. We'll have plenty on the Trojans this week, so make sure you stop back.