Minnesota Gophers-South Dakota Coyotes Preview


Minnesota-South Dakota Football Preview

There are two types of previews for college football games.  

The first is the impartial, stat-based, legitimate college football game preview in which it is clear that the only point is to communicate the cold hard facts.

The second is a more light hearted, realistic, have-fun-with-it kind of approach that doesn’t really so much break down the game, but gives you things to look at from the better team’s perspective. Because obviously the Coyotes, I mean, the less talented team, don’t have a chance at winning.

Well, as much as I like doing the latter, this upcoming preview, and thus the game on the field Saturday, will clearly be the former.

The Gophers come off a 24-17 victory over Middle Tennessee State last weekend that, while looking close on the scoreboard, was in reality a game dominated by the Gophers.

On the other side, South Dakota lost 38-7 to Central Florida in the first week of the season, and the FBS (formerly D1-AA) Coyotes leave little hope going into this week that they will even put up a finger of resistance to try and stop the Gophers from dominating this contest.

South Dakota is among the independents in the FBS and finished 5-5 last year, with their only game against an FCS team being a 66-7 loss to Northern Iowa.  Later that year Northern Iowa lost to FBS South Dakota State by ten, whom the Gophers defeated last year 16-13.  Needless to say, if you’re trying to figure out what the score should be this year based on those series of contests last year, you’ve lost count.  I’m guessing it will be something like this:  Gophers: A lot, South Dakota: A little.

The real interest in this game for Gophers fans is that it is the last one before the clash with USC next Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium.

usc trojans football hottie

While the talent level will be completely different between South Dakota and the Trojans, it’s what the Gophers have as a tune up, and they will need to make the most of it in a number of different areas.

Firstly, the Gophers need to once again establish the run, as they enter the weekend 15th in the nation in rushing yards.  If they expect to compete against USC in a week, they will need Duane Bennett to play like he did against Middle Tennessee.  This week they need to make sure that the spectacular performances of the offensive line and Bennett weren’t mere aberrations.

Second, the defense played well against Middle Tennessee, but there was room for improvement.

Middle Tennessee only had the ball 15 minutes of the game, but they managed 17 points and over 300 yards.  This game should really be used for the defense to get their feet under them and gain some chemistry seeing as 9 of the Gophers 11 starters hadn’t started a game before last week.

Finally, the Gophers need to get Adam Weber some easy completions and big plays this week so he has some confidence going into next Saturday.  Weber played serviceable against Middle Tennessee last week and didn’t make any mistakes, but he didn’t make any spectacular plays, either.

Weber will need to find his go to guy this game and develop chemistry with his receivers, because there is nothing close to a number one target on this team right now.

Look for Da’Jon Mcknight and Troy Stoudermire to be the main targets this game for Weber, and another interesting facet to this week will be Marqueis Gray’s impact, whether it’s as a receiver (one catch, 22 yards in opener), or under center as a different look for defenses.

This week can give Minnesota some confidence and a chance to develop some camaraderie on the field heading into the Trojan War.

If anything, this game will be more scrutinized than any other the Gophers have played recently because of the implications of next week’s contest.

Although this preview has been half-hearted and not overly serious, don’t expect the same from the Gophers Saturday.

Expect intensity and energy from Minnesota Saturday, because Tim Brewster should demand it the week before the Gophers’ biggest non-conference challenge in years.

-Mike Gallagher


  1. every college football game should be taken seriously, there are so few of them & anything can happen, week to week, team to team… i’m almost glad i don’t have cable tv anymore so i don’t invest too much time on this team only to be disappointed… i’m reading this preview after the fact, obviously…

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