There was great excitement among fans at TCF Bank stadium as the 2014 Minnesota Gopher Football season opener was about to start. Fans were excited to see how the team could improve on their 8-4 2013 record and were looking forward to seeing the strong defense that had been the talk of the town as the season was about to start.
The question mark was how the offense would perform. The run-heavy offense did fine until the team met the stingy Wisconsin and Iowa defense last year, who were able to shut down their run. The passing game started with two incomplete passes and a punt…not the way the Gophers were hoping to perform. The team attempted only 18 passes in the game and completed just ten of the passes compared to the Panthers who completed 32 of 57 passes.
The positive to take from the game is that in rushing they were able, especially in the second half, to have their way, rushing for 182 net yards on 40 carries.
The Gophers took a 21-0 lead into the fourth quarter and increased the lead to 35-0 and, going in to the final seven minutes of the game were looking to have their first shutout since 2006. The Gophers put out the second string team with seven minutes left and Southern Illinois’ starters were able to cut the lead from 35-0 to 42-21 by the end of the game. Not the way a team looks to end a game but given the second team playing against the first team and the large lead it was probably invaluable experience for some of the younger Minnesota players.
Stay tuned to The Minnesota Sports Report for continued coverage of Minnesota Golden Gopher football throughout the season. Enjoy the slide show below, click on an image to see it larger.