GOPHERS OFFENSE VS. KENT STATE DEFENSE

The Flashes returned their top 11 tacklers from last season and are coming off one of the best defensive performances in school history. Delaware State, a struggling FCS team, rushed 28 times for minus-38 yards, scoring both of its touchdowns on fumble recoveries. But the Gophers offense is on a different level. Advantage: Gophers

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

Anthony Melchiori handles punts and kickoffs for Kent State. Ryan Santoso is 4-for-5 on field goals for Minnesota. Advantage: Gophers

Player to watch

Kent State junior QB Colin Reardon is a three-year starter who has completed 57.4 percent of his passes during his career. But he was just 15-for-34 with three interceptions two weeks ago in a loss to Illinois.

 

THE OPPONENT

Kent State went 11-3 in 2012 before losing coach Darrell Hazell to Purdue. In stepped Paul Haynes, a former Ohio State defensive coordinator who went 4-8 and 2-9 his first two years and lost this year’s opener 52-3 at Illinois. The Golden Flashes rebounded with a 45-13 win over Delaware State.

GOPHERS DEFENSE VS. KENT STATE OFFENSE

Kent State uses the pistol formation, and its veteran offensive line hasn’t allowed more than one sack in its past nine games. Trayion Durham, a bruising 6-1, 248-pound senior tailback, had 15 carries for 77 yards last week. Sophomore receiver Kris White had six catches for 83 yards. Advantage: Gophers

 

INTANGIBLES

Kent State is 1-14 against teams currently in the Big Ten, with the lone win coming over Rutgers in 2012, before the Scarlet Knights joined the conference. Advantage: Gophers

 

 

JOE’S PREDICTION

38            6

MINN     KSU

The Gophers played six consecutive 11 a.m. games last year and they’ll be ready to put this one away early.