The last time the Minnesota Golden Gophers played the New Mexico State Aggies, New Mexico left TCF Bank Stadium with a win. Gopher fans, meanwhile, were left to wonder about the team’s future as well as their head coach’s health as Jerry Kill left the game in a stretcher following an epileptic episode.
The Gophers and coach Kill’s health have improved since the last matchup between the two teams in 2011 and Minnesota is coming off of a big win in their season opener, beating UNLV 51-23.
But while the defense and special teams led the charge in the win against UNLV last week, the offense struggled, especially in the passing game.
The Gophers will need the offense to improve entering the second game of the season with a good opportunity to get it rolling against the Aggies. New Mexico State is coming off a game in which they gave up 715 yards to the Texas Longhorns, allowing five touchdowns on plays over 35-yards or more.
With starting tailback, Donnell Kirkwood, likely to miss the game following an injury sustained against UNLV, the Gophers will look to Nelson to carry the load of the offense. Freshman running back Berkley Edwards will also miss the game with an ankle injury but on the bright side, junior David Cobb will likely play significant minutes following a 69-yard performance on six carries.
On the other side of the ball, Minnesota’s defense was solid against UNLV and they will have to do much of the same against New Mexico State. The Aggies gained 346 total yards against the Longhorns last week. Their quarterback, Andrew McDonald, went 32-of-46 for 242 yards including a touchdown and an interception.
The Aggies may have beaten the Gophers two years ago but the Gophers are a much improved team. The offense may be a little beat up but they should find a groove and have no trouble scoring points against New Mexico State.