GOPHERS OFFENSE VS. BEAVERS DEFENSE
Gary Andersen has a defensive background and incorporated his 3-4 system last year. The Beavers struggled, and there are eight new starters, many of them young, including Elu Aydon, a 327-pound redshirt freshman run-stuffer from American Samoa. Advantage: Gophers
Victor Bolden Jr. returned a punt 78 yards for a touchdown last year against Oregon. Ryan Santoso has moved to punter for Minnesota, with unproven Emmit Carpenter taking over kicking duties. Advantage: Beavers
PLAYER TO WATCH
The 6-5, 220-pound Jordan Villamin is a big receiving target, who had seven catches for 138 yards and a touchdown last year against Stanford. Bolden and converted quarterback Seth Collins are dangerous receivers, too.
Oregon State went 2-10 last year in Gary Andersen’s first season, ranking 111th nationally in scoring offense and 114th in scoring defense. The Beavers should be better on both sides of the ball, but expectations are not high in Corvallis, knowing the former Wisconsin coach took on a rebuilding project.
GOPHERS DEFENSE VS. BEAVERS OFFENSE
Utah State transfer Darell Garretson should stabilize this offense, which rotated through three ineffective quarterbacks last season. The Beavers will test Minnesota’s young secondary. Ryan Nall, a 6-2, 234-pound sophomore, rushed for 174 yards on 19 carries vs. Oregon last year. Advantage: Gophers
The Gophers have played well in these Thursday night home openers, even in last year’s 23-17 loss to No. 2 TCU. Advantage: Gophers
Oregon State has enough talent to pull an upset, but the Gophers answer with a rebuilt O-line and strength up the middle on defense.