It seems like the Gophers might have turned around finally in Coach Jerry Kill's second year. The Gophers go into their Big Ten season opener against the Hawkeyes with an undefeated record in non-conference play. There were some impressive wins against UNLV in an away game and a 17-10 victory over Syracuse at TCF Bank Stadium. They have been led by QB Max Shortell in the absence of MarQueis Gray who is one of the best athletes in the Big Ten and is sidelined with an ankle injury.
If he could return soon, it would boost the Gopher’s chances big time. The Gophers have prevailed without him and it goes to show what would happen when such a big play maker returns to the team.
The Gophers will have to look to convert a lot more on third-down and not have turnovers in order to come away with a win in Iowa City. Protecting the pig will not be easy as fullback Mark Weisman and the Iowa offense will need to be stopped on the ground by the likes of 6-6 Ra'Shede Hageman and the 6-5 Cameron Botticelli.
The Gophers should look to seize the moment this season and try to finish well. A good record is essential for Minnesota to attract top recruits which is really what the football program needs at the end of the day to regain its long lost dominant position.
There is a possibility that the Gophers may finish 7-5 with chances for victories against Northwestern and Purdue at home. The Big Ten is weaker this year with Ohio State not as great as before and Penn State going down because it is scandal ridden. The Gophers need to capitalize.