Gophers football pregame notes

Austin Cumblad

It’s a beautiful October morning in Minneapolis. The kind of morning that makes you excited for the opening of TCF Bank Stadium next fall. But for now, we’re under the dome for the Gophers Big Ten home opener against Indiana. Quickly, a few keys to the game for Minnesota: -Contain Kellen Lewis. This is the second of three straight quarterbacks the Gophers will see that are serious dual threats. Last week Terrelle Pryor of Ohio State was dominant on the ground and through the air. Minnesota must keep Lewis contained in the pocket, because like Pryor, when he gets free he can do some serious damage. -Minimize explosive plays on defense. Until last week’s game against the Buckeyes, the Gophers had been relatively successful at limiting the big plays that plagued them a season ago. Big plays hurt them bad last year at Indiana. Minnesota’s defense allowed a 48 yard touchdown scamper by Bryan Payton, a 44 yard run by Lewis, and passes of 54 and 51 yards. To win this game, the Gophers simply must keep the Hoosiers in front of them. Fortunately, Minnesota boasts a much improved secondary that’s had a nose for the ball this year. -Keep Decker on the move. Indiana’s pass defense is abysmal. Minnesota should be able to consistently create favorable matchups for start wide receiver Eric Decker, so don’t expect him to have a quiet game like he did a week ago against Ohio State. Still, quarterback Adam Weber must also spread the ball around, and a little more involvement from the tight ends would benefit the Gophers on offense. We’re about 15 minutes from kickoff now. Check back between quarters for Trevor’s and my thoughts on the game. Should be an entertaining one today.