Minnesota Golden Gophers 0-0 (0-0 Big 10)
Gophers Key Returning Players:
QB Adam Weber 6'3" 217lbs - 255-410 (62.2%), 2761 yards, 19 Total TD's, 8 INT
WR Eric Decker 6'2" 215lbs - 84 rec, 1074 yards, 8 Total TD
DB Traye Simmons 5'11" 179lbs - 61 Total Tackles, 4 INT 1 TD
OLB Simoni Lawrence 6'1" 221lbs - 66 Total Tackles, 10.5 Tackles For Loss, 4 Sacks, 1 TD
Previous Season: Minnesota was 7-6 last season with five straight losses to end the year. After starting off the season a sizzling 7-1 Minnesota finally hit some real competition and that coupled with an injury to star Wideout Eric Decker led Minny to 5 straight losses including an embarrasing 55-0 loss at Iowa and a 42-21 loss to Kansas in the Insight Bowl. Despite the complete meltdown at seasons end, the season was still considered a success as it was a far cry from the 1-11 season Gopher fans experienced the seadson before. This season a veteren group of players look to improve on last season and rise into the upper echelon of the Big Ten.
Game Preview: This is arguably the biggest Syracuse University football game in about a decade, the Carrier Dome will be near a sellout and the monicre "The Loud House" will actually have meaning again. There are 3 major keys to victory for Syracuse. The first is contain Weber and Decker, if those two go off on the secondary it will be a long day, but if the Cuse can contain them and not let them get hot, they have a shot. Safeties Mike Holmes and Max Suter are keys as they should have over the top coverage. The second key to victory is ball control. Over the last few seasons Cuse had a ridiculous amount of 3 and outs, putting the defense on the field for 3/4th's of the game allowing teams to pull away in the late third and fourth quarters. That cannot happen this season, especially with the lack of depth and experience, Cuse needs to establish the running game with Delone Carter and Antwon Bailey and at least keep the T.O.P. at 50/50. The final key to victory is YOU, the 12th man, the Dome crowd. If your going to sellout the place you better be in there rockin, when the 3rd down bell chimes and the defense can get a big stop get on your feet and yell, rattle some keys, do something. Show the country that Syracuse football is back and it isn't going anywhere.
My Prediction: The start of the Doug Marrone Era begins with a win. In what is the biggest game at the Dome since probably the 1998-99 season Cuse pulls off the win 24-20. Expect Cuse to jump out early on the Gophers. By halftime though the game has settled into a tie as Weber and Decker hook up. In the second half Minny looks as though they are going to take the game over with another quick score Weber to Decker but Paulus comes back and throws his first collegiate TD, this brings the crowd alive and they will the Orange to victory. With a another score in the 4th Cuse holds off a late Minny drive and collects the W.