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PHOTO BY COURTNEY DEUTZ


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Thursday, September 28, 2017

GAME DAY PREVIEW TABLE OF CONTENTS Daily Breakdown

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Minnesota takes on Maryland for first Big Ten game of year

Depth Charts Quick Hitters

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The Gophers defeated Middle Tennessee last game

Questions from the Other Side

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Washington Post beat writer speaks about Maryland

Tuesday Update

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Minnesota opens Big Ten play this weekend against Maryland

A

fter coasting through nonconference

touchdown. Now, Rhoda comes into the game

Kasim Hill tore his ACL on Sept. 23 against Cen-

play, the Gophers (3-0) begin the Big Ten

with three more starts under his belt and a

tral Florida. Max Bortenschlager will be start-

three-game winning streak.

ing at quarterback for Maryland, making his

season with a matchup against Maryland (2-1). Minnesota’s starting quarterback, Conor

For the Terrapins, injuries have plagued

second career start.

Rhoda, started the first game of his career

their quarterbacks. Starting quarterback Tyrell

The Gophers are 12.5 point favorites heading

against the Terrapins last season. In the 31-

Pigrome suffered a season-ending knee injury

into Saturday’s matchup, and a win would mark

10 victory, Rhoda passed for 82 yards and one

in the first game of the year, and his backup,

a 4-0 start for Minnesota under the P.J. Fleck era.


Thursday, September 28, 2017

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Minnesota can take advantage of yet another backup Starter Tyrrell Pigrome suffered a season-ending knee injury in the Terrapins first game. BY DREW COVE dcove@mndaily.com

Minnesota is 3-0 heading into the first game of conference play this season. After routing Middle Tennessee State 34-3 before the team’s bye week, it now has ample time to prepare for the Big Ten. The Gophers now take on Maryland (21) at home. The Terrapins were impressive early, but suffered a 38-10 loss last weekend to Central Florida. When Minnesota runs the ball: After the big performance by running back Kobe McCrary against Middle Tennessee State, it looks like Minnesota has three running backs who can carry the load. Running backs Shannon Brooks and Rodney Smith both missed time in the last game, with Brooks not playing at all, and Smith missing the second half. Head coach P.J. Fleck told reporters Monday that he expects both Smith and Brooks to be ready for the game against the Terrapins. The Gophers running game is the strong point of their offense, and with Brooks and Smith healthy, they will get the ball. Matchup to watch: RB Rodney Smith vs. LB Jermaine Carter Jr. Advantage: Minnesota When Mar yland runs the ball: The Terrapins also have an experienced running back with junior Ty Johnson. Johnson has almost 300 yards in three games this season and has three touchdowns so far. His longest run of the season was 74 yards. Minnesota’s strong point on defense is up front, especially with the linebacker group. They keep the field short for the opponents’ running games, allowing less than 50 rushing yards against Middle Tennessee State. Matchup to watch: RB Ty Johnson vs. LB Thomas Barber Advantage: Minnesota

COURTNEY DEUTZ, DAILY FILE PHOTO

Wide receiver Demetrius Douglas runs with the ball against Middle Tennessee on Saturday, Sept. 16 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

When Minnesota passes the ball: Minnesota’s passing game has been inconsistent this season, with Rhoda attempting 20 passes and 18 passes in the first and third game, respectively, then only attempting eight in the second game. While wide receiver Tyler Johnson stole the show in the first two games with over 250 yards. In the Middle Tennessee State game, Johnson only got the ball twice for 14 yards. The Terrapins defense has allowed 96 points in the first three games of the season, and gave up 38 to Central Florida last weekend. Matchup to watch: WR Demetrius Douglas vs. DB Darnell Savage Jr. Advantage: Maryland

When Mar yland passes the ball: The Terrapins have thrown over 500 yards this season, and they have scored 124 points over their three games. Their top receiver, DJ Moore, has over 300 yards and four touchdowns this season. The question for Maryland though is the quarterback situation. Now that Minnesota is through with co-starters this season, Maryland has had three quarterbacks play this season, and each of them has passed for over 130 yards. The third-string quarterback, Max Bortenschlager, didn’t have much success in relief of Hill in the last game, he completed 15 of 26 passing attempts, and threw two interceptions. Matchup to watch: WR DJ Moore vs.

DB Antoine Winfield Jr. Advantage: Minnesota Prediction: Minnesota 38, Maryland 17 The Gophers running game should have all three backs, and the defense has been consistent all season. Maryland’s situation at quarterback opens up Minnesota’s defense to have a big game Saturday. Daily prediction record this season: 3-0 What else you need to know: Star t time: 11:00 a.m. CST Saturday, Sept. 30. TV: Fox Sports 1 Radio: KFAN 100.3 FM Point spread: Minnesota by 12.5


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Minnesota’s Depth Chart

MINNESOTA COACHES

OFFENSE

P.J. Fleck Matt Simon Kirk Ciarrocca

QB

Ed Warinner Maurice Linquist Bryce Paup Robb Smith Kenni Burns Brian Callahan Rob Wenger Gerrit Chernoff

Head Coach Wide Receivers Coach Offensive Coordinator Quarterbacks Offensive Line Coach Run Game Coordinator Defensive Backs Defensive Line Coach Defensive Coordinator Linebackers Coach Running Backs Tight Ends Coach Special Teams Coordinator General Manager

RB TE X-WR H-WR

Z-WR LT LG C RG RT

7 15 1 23 80 86 10 88 9 5 3 26 12 73 70 78 58 77 61 64 61 74 77

DEFENSE

Conor Rhoda (6-0, 225, R-Sr.) Seth Green (6-4, 229, R-Fr.) Rodney Smith (5-11, 210, R-Jr.) Shannon Brooks (6-0, 210, Jr.) Nate Wozniak (6-10, 280, R-Sr.) Brandon Lingen (6-5, 254, Sr.) Tyler Johnson (6-2, 190, So.) Rasha Still (6-5, 214, Jr.) Eric Carter (5-11, 193, R-Sr.) Melvin Holland Jr. (6-3, 206, R-Jr.) Chris Autman-Bell (6-1, 193, Fr.) Demetrius Douglas (6-0, 181, Fr.) Phillip Howard (5-11, 187, R-Fr.) Donnell Greene (6-7, 320, R-Jr.) Sam Schlueter (6-6, 298, R-Fr.) Garrison Wright (6-4, 319, R-Sr.) Quinn Oseland (6-6, 305, R-So.) Jared Weyler (6-4, 296, R-Jr.) Bronson Dovich (6-5, 298, R-So.) Connor Olson (6-5, 297, R-Fr.) Vincent Calhoun (6-4, 320, R-So.) Nick Connelly (6-7, 300, R-So.) Blaise Andries (6-5, 313, Fr.)

DE DT DT DE LB LB LB CB CB S S

46 87 93 99 96 19 45 36 21 35 41 12 50 36 34 14 31 16 11 2 8 4

Winston DeLattiboudere (6-3, 247, R-So.) Nate Umlor (6-5, 269, Fr.) Merrick Jackson (6-2, 316, R-Sr.) Andrew Stelter (6-4, 298, Jr.) Steve Richardson (6-0, 292, Sr.) Gary Moore (6-4, 287, R-Jr.) Carter Coughlin (6-4, 245, So.) Blake Cashman (6-2, 235, Jr.) Kamal Martin (6-3 229 So.) Jaylen Waters (6-3, 255, R-So.) Thomas Barber (6-1, 232, Sr.) Cody Poock (6-2, 229, R-Sr.) Jonathan Celestin (6-1, 232, Sr.) Blake Cashman (6-2, 235, Jr.) Antonio Shenault (5-11, 192, Jr.) Zo Craighton (6-1, 206, R-So.) Kiondre Thomas (6-0, 188, R-Fr.) Coney Durr (5-10, 191, So.) Antoine Winfield Jr. (5-10, 204, So.) Jacob Huff (5-11, 207, Jr.) Duke McGhee (6-1, 211, R-Sr.) Adekunle Ayinde (6-0, 205, R-Jr.)

Thursday, September 28, 2017

SPECIAL TEAMS K P LS KR PR

H

38 37 18 47 25 39 5 34 11 82 47 18

Emmit Carpenter (6-0, 199, R-Jr.) John Mack (6-0, 193, R-Fr.) Ryan Santoso (6-6, 258, R-Sr.) Jacob Herbers (6-2, 215, R-So.) Payton Jordahl (6-2, 230, R-Jr.) Trey Hansen (6-2, 215, R-So.) Shannon Brooks (6-0, 213, Jr.) Antonio Shenault (5-11, 192, Jr.) Antoine Winfield Jr. (5-10, 204, So.) Demetrius Douglas (6-0, 181, Fr.) Jacob Herbers (6-2, 215, R-So.) Ryan Santoso (6-6, 250, R-Jr.)

*Depth chart accurate as of September 13


Maryland’s Depth Chart

MARYLAND COACHES

OFFENSE

D.J. Durkin Chris Beatty

QB

Walt Bell

Head Coach Wide Receivers Coach Associate Head Coach Offensive Coordinator Quarterbacks Offensive Line Coach Defensive Backs Coach

Tyler Bowen Aazaar AbdulRahim Jimmy Brumbaugh Defensive Line Coach Co-Defensive Coordinator Andy Buh Defensive Coordinator Anthony Tucker Running Backs Coach Matt Barnes Linebackers Coach Pete Lembo Assistant Head Coach Tight Ends Coach Special Teams Coordinator

RB TE X-WR H-WR Z-WR LT LG C RG RT

11 18 6 2 48 82 1 9 12 10 84 14 55 79 70 57 64 73 75 68 74 77

DEFENSE

Kasim Hill (6-2, 232, Fr.) Max Bortenschlager (6-4, 229, Fr.) Ty Johnson (5-10, 205, Jr.) Lorenzo Harrison (5-8, 193, So.) Derrick Hayward (6-5, 235, R-Sr.) Avery Edwards (6-4, 245, Jr.) D.J. Moore (5-11, 215, Jr.) Jahrvis Davenport (5-9, 193, Jr.) Taivon Jacobs (5-11, 170, R-Sr.) D.J. Turner (5-9, 200, So.) Jacquille Veii (5-9, 185, R-Sr.) Tahj Capehart (5-10, 184, Fr.) Derwin Gray (6-5, 328, R-Jr.) Jordan McNair (6-4, 325, Fr.) Sean Christie (6-4, 300, R-Jr.) Richard Merritt (6-5, 365, R-Fr.) Brendan Moore (6-3, 300, R-Jr.) Johnny Jordan (6-10, 307, Fr.) Terrance Davis (6-3, 315, So.) Ellis McKennie (6-3, 305, R-So.) Damian Prince (6-3, 315, R-Jr.) Marcus Minor (6-4, 296, Fr.)

DE DT NT LB LB LB LB DB DB DB DB DB

92 96 5 50 8 19 92 35 43 53 1 43 18 22 7 21 25 4 17 20 24 10 4 12

Chandler Burkett (6-3, 245, R-Sr.) Brett Kulka (6-4, 260, R-Jr.) Cavon Walker (6-2, 280, R-Sr.) Mbi Tanyi (6-10, 305, Jr.) Kingsley Opara (6-3, 300, R-Sr.) Seun Oluwatimi (6-1, 298, So.) Chandler Burkett (6-3 245. R-Sr..) Melvin Keihn (6-1, 255, R-Jr.) Jalen Brooks (6-1, 232, R-Sr.) Brooks Sheperd (6-4, 215, So.) Jermaine Carter Jr. (6-0, 235, R-Sr.) Jalen Brooks (6-1, 232, R-Sr.) Shane Cockerille (6-2, 235, R-Sr.) Davis Isaiah (6-1, 235, R-So.) JC Jackson (6-1, 190, Jr.) RaVon Davis Jr. (5-10, 170, Jr.) Antoine Brooks (5-11, 223, So.) Darnell Savage Jr. (5-10, 187, Jr.) Tino Ellis (6-1, 185, So.) Antwaine Richardson (6-0, 183, So.) Qwuantrezz Knight (6-0, 190, So.) Josh Woods (6-1, 202, Sr.) Darnell Savage Jr. (5-10, 187, Jr.) Elijah Daniels (6-0, 190, So.)

Thursday, September 28, 2017

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SPECIAL TEAMS K P PK LS KR PR H

38 37 88 3 97 36 56 6 12 1 6 18

Emmit Carpenter (6-0, 199, R-Jr.) John Mack (6-0, 193, R-Fr.) Wade Lee (6-2, 204, So.) Adam Greene (5-11, 197, R-Sr.) Daniel Sutton (6-0, 186, Sr.) Matt Oliveira (6-1, 215, Jr.) Nate Adams (6-0, 215, Sr.) Ty Johnson (5-10, 205, Jr.) Taivon Jacobs (5-11, 170, R-Sr.) D.J. Moore (5-11, 215, Jr.) Ty Johnson (5-10, 205, Jr.) Max Bortenschlager (6-4, 229, Fr.)

*Depth chart accurate as of September 20


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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Quick Hitters: Minnesota 34, MTSU 3 Running back Kobe McCrary had three touchdowns and 107 rushing yards in the 34-3 win. BY JACK WARRICK jwarrick@mndaily.com

The Gophers had to rely on their “spare tire,” running back Kobe McCrary, in the win against Middle Tennessee. McCrary had three touchdowns in the game — two of them in the second half — to ensure a 34-3 run away win, along with an undefeated record, going into Big Ten play. Running back Shannon Brooks, who had 164 yards in two games, didn’t touch the field against Middle Tennessee as he was out with a shoulder injury. Running back Rodney Smith sat out the second half with an injury. Middle Tennessee was without its starting quarterback Brent Stockstill — MTSU head coach Rick Stockstill’s son. Without him, and with the help of Minnesota defensive back Jacob Huff, who turned a solid MTSU drive into a 67-yard pick six with under two minutes left in the first half — the Gophers defense held the MTSU offense to just three points — the lowest in TCF Bank Stadium history. Key play Huff saw his opportunity to get in front of Middle Tennessee wide receiver Shane Tucker on Saturday. Huff jumped Tucker’s crossing route and intercepted the ball from John Urzua. The junior needed only one block downfield to return the touchdown, and he jogged into the end zone with ease. Jacob Huff’s interception returned for a touchdown was a momentum changer for the Gophers as it put the team up 20-3 with two minutes left in the half. Five observations: 1. The second half defense has been perfect Minnesota has allowed zero points in the second half in each of the three games the Gophers have played. Though the games were against two teams outside the Power Five and an Oregon State team that is last in the PAC 12 North Division, it is still impressive for them to allow zero points in the second half through three games.

COURTNEY DEUTZ, DAILY FILE PHOTO

Wide receiver Demetrius Douglas runs with the ball against Middle Tennessee on Saturday, Sept. 16 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

2. Minnesota’s spare tire could be a starter. Kobe McCrary stepped up for the Gophers in the win over Middle Tennessee, putting up three touchdowns and 107 yards. Though Smith and Brooks take the spotlight and most of the carries for the Gophers, McCrary has shown he can step up and play when the Gophers are in need of a ground threat. 3. Rodney Smith’s injury could have been prevented. Just before the half was over, the Gophers decided to run Rodney Smith instead of taking a knee to end the half. Smith took a hard hit to the head on that play, went in for concussion testing and didn’t play the second half. He is, however, expected to return in the

game against Maryland this Saturday. 4. Minnesota can defend the pass. Huff was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week in the team’s last game after posting four tackles, one for-loss, a pass break-up and, of course, the 67-yard pick six. The last Gophers player to get this award was Blake Cashman after the Nov. 19, 2016 win over Northwestern. Thomas Barber caught Minnesota’s second interception when he made a play off a tipped pass. The Gophers defense held the Blue Raiders to 122 yards passing. 5. The Gophers have lost their quarterback mobility. When running the read option, quarterback Conor Rhoda never took it himself to run with it, handing it off to a running back every time.

He is averaging one rushing yard per game. The last starting quarterback, Mitch Leidner, had 33 rushing touchdowns for the Gophers, the most in school history among quarterbacks. Quote of the game: Fleck, after the head coach opens a Diet Coke and takes a sip: “I don’t do that on purpose, OK, I like Diet Coke.” Up next: The Gophers play Maryland Saturday morning at Minnesota to kick off Big Ten play in the first year of the Fleck era. The Terrapins are 2-1, coming off an ugly 38-10 loss to University of Central Florida last week. Starting quarterback Kasim Hill is out for the season with an ACL tear.


Thursday, September 28, 2017

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Questions from the Other Side:

Washington Post Maryland football beat writer Roman Stubbs Stubbs has covered Terrapins football since Maryland, joined the Big Ten in 2014. BY JACK WARRICK jwarrick@mndaily.com

For this weekly column, the Minnesota Daily will interview someone knowledgeable about Minnesota’s next opponent. This week, the Gophers’ opponent is Maryland. The Daily talked with Roman Stubbs — a football beat writer for the Washington Post. Stubbs is in his fourth year covering the Maryland Terrapins for the Washington Post. He started on the beat when Maryland joined the Big Ten in 2014. [Besides quarterback injuries], have there been any other injuries affecting the season this year? They play a 3-4, and their buck linebacker — kind of their hybrid defensive end — Jesse Aniebonam broke his ankle the first week against Texas. He was their best pass rusher. I think he had nine sacks last year and 14 tackles-for-loss — great player. So they’ve had to kind of hatch over that position and shuffle guys in to find some pass rushing, and so that’s been a huge impact. At this point, obviously, the two quarterbacks and then losing a defensive end, it’s been a pretty difficult blow for them. After beating a ranked Texas team and then dominating Towson 63-17, how tough of a loss was last week’s to UCF? It’s obviously difficult to kind of comprehend. They were looking at potentially going 3-0 headed into the Big Ten opener, and what looked like a pretty winnable game at Minnesota as well. When Hill went down in the first quarter, it was like this energy just went out of the stadium and went out of the team. You could just feel it and things weren’t the same after that. All that optimism that they had built, particularly after the win over Texas, just seemed to be a distant memory. Minnesota is dead last in terms of Big Ten passing yards. They live and die by the run. How good is Maryland’s rush defense? It struggled last week. Particularly dealing with kind of a dual-threat quarterback. The de-

Running back Kobe McCrary runs with the ball on Saturday, Sept. 16 at TCF Bank Stadium.

fense mostly struggled because the offense was so inept — I think the offense only converted two third downs. The defense was on the field for really long stretches. We saw a lot out of Minnesota — in this game last year they were so good. The multiple backs really hurt Maryland and they’re going to have to figure out how to make sure they can stop the run to even have a chance coming into this game.

offensive line has some talented players.

Max Bortenschlager — the QB who played after Hill left the game with an injury — was sacked five times last game. Are there some problems up front with the line? I think a few of those were probably Max’s fault, just not making decisive enough decisions. The offensive line played really well against Texas and Towson. It was kind of expected to be a strong suit of this team. But yeah, they really struggled in particularly the second half against Central Florida … I think they only had 46 yards rushing. They came into that game averaging like 315 on the ground, or something ridiculous like that so it was a pretty stunning drop off. The

Weaknesses on offense? If Hill’s not healthy, the offense is going to look a lot different. This is a wide-open offense that’s up-tempo, spreads you out, that kind of relied on dual-threat quarterbacks … Bortenschlager doesn’t have really that ability, so you kind of take away a dimension from the offense ... He’s a guy who can make throws. I mean, he’s got one of the strongest arms on the roster … They’ve got to put him in better positions to make plays. They have one of the best receivers in the Big Ten in D.J. Moore, two of the best running backs in the Big Ten in Harrison and Johnson, so now you’ve just got to figure out how to kind of allow

Maryland has allowed 96 points on defense this year compared to Minnesota’s 24. What are the weaknesses of Maryland’s defense? There’s been issues at all three levels. It’s not just a secondary thing, or a defensive line thing or a linebacker thing. I just think the whole unit didn’t play well against Central Florida.

COURTNEY DEUTZ, DAILY FILE PHOTO

those guys to make plays and be the go-to guys within that offense. Speed Round Questions Best Player on the offense? WR D.J. Moore Best Player on the defense? LB Jermaine Carter Jr. Best player on the team? WR D.J. Moore High or low scoring game? Low, one of those classic Big Ten slug fests. Will Maryland break 100 rushing yards? Yes Score Prediction? Minnesota, 24-17 Best team in the Big Ten? Penn State Best team in college football? Alabama Heisman winner? Saquon Barkley Maryland’s record at the end of the year? 5-7, and just miss bowl eligibility


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Thursday, September 28, 2017

COURTNEY DEUTZ, DAILY FILE PHOTO

COURTNEY DEUTZ, DAILY FILE PHOTO

ABOVE: Head coach P.J. Fleck cheers on players after the Gophers scored a touchdown on Saturday, Sept. 16 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. LEFT: Members of the Gophers football team cheer after scoring a touchdown.

Gophers coming off bye week healthier than their Big Ten Opponent Minnesota opens Big Ten play this weekend against Maryland. BY DREW COVE dcove@mndaily.com

Conference play is set to begin, and Minnesota is looking to stay undefeated. The Gophers have a better chance of doing that with their top-two running backs returning, and it looks like they will win Saturday. Head coach P.J. Fleck told reporters Monday that both Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks should be ready to play Saturday. Both backs missed time in the last game. Brooks suited up but didn’t play, and Smith played in the first half before fall-

ing to injury at the end of the half, getting no play time in the second half. Minnesota went to Maryland last year and won 31-10, and it was quarterback Conor Rhoda’s first collegiate start. “I think I’m more fine-tuned on the little things now,” Rhoda said. “I don’t think there’s a huge difference necessarily, just straight skill level from where I was [this time last year].” Maryland had showed offensive promise early in the season, but in its upset win versus Texas in the first game, the Terrapins’ starting quarterback suffered a season-ending injury. The reins were handed to freshman Kasim Hill, but it didn’t take long for him to suffer a season-ending injury as well, which came in the third game of

the season. Hill’s status was updated to out for the season with a torn ACL on Tuesday. Third-stringer, quarterback Max Bortenschlager, played the rest of the Terrapins’ last game when they lost to Central Florida and will most likely start against the Gophers this Saturday. “[Bortenschlager] has worked incredibly hard,” said head coach P.J. Fleck. “He won in high school, he got a scholarship like everybody else, and he’s just been waiting for his opportunity.” Minnesota used the bye week to practice, rest and recruit. Fleck flew in a helicopter to a game where four-star, Edina High School recruit Quinn Carroll was playing, and he donned a Minnesota jersey with

Carroll’s number, 75. “The reason for going there is the efficiency to be able to see recruits,” Fleck said. “It’s not just to make an impact, and create a lot of wind around a high school stadium.” Other notes: -Fleck told reporters Monday that quarterback Demry Croft is still suspended from the team. -Fleck said the team will host the 1967 Big Ten Championship Minnesota team at TCF Bank Stadium Saturday, the last Gophers team to win the Big Ten. -Fleck said on KFAN 100.3 FM Tuesday starting center Jared Weyler was limited in practice this week, and is not certain to play against Maryland.

9/28/17 Gameday Preview: Minnesota vs. Maryland  
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