Gophers’ offense looks to rebound against Oregon State

Minnesota scored 17 points against Buffalo last game, but the Beavers gave up 30.5 points per game in the 2016-17 season.

Wide receiver Tyler Johnson waits for the next play on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Johnson had more yards in the game against Buffalo than any other game in his career and scored the first touchdown of the night. 

Ellen Schmidt

Wide receiver Tyler Johnson waits for the next play on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Johnson had more yards in the game against Buffalo than any other game in his career and scored the first touchdown of the night. 

Drew Cove

Minnesota’s victory against Buffalo didn’t satisfy head coach P.J. Fleck.

The Gophers, with high expectations from the new coaching staff, didn’t have a dominant game against a team they could have pulled away from.

“This is a very inexperienced, youthful football team that are gaining valuable knowledge with every single snap,” Fleck said. “And that’s critical, especially at the quarterback position and a lot of other key roles. … What I loved about them was they found a way to win.”

Now, it is on to Corvallis, Oregon, where Minnesota will play Oregon State for the first time on the road.

Last season, Minnesota opened up its season with a win against Oregon State 30-23 at TCF Bank Stadium.

The Gophers are playing a team they will be familiar with, but it might be harder for the Beavers to tell what Minnesota is doing because of the system change in the offseason.

“This is a new culture — completely different,” Fleck said. “When it comes down to it, this is like a ‘year zero,’ with a new culture that’s different from other years.”

Fleck said that there are many circumstances or excuses that could be blamed for the team not performing well, and that they will be prepared for the time difference, elevation change and temperature in this game.

Listed at 6 feet 6 inches, the elevation might not be an issue for punter Ryan Santoso, but the added pressure of another responsibility, like doing the kickoff, could prove to be nerve-wracking. Santoso kicked off against Buffalo instead of kicker Emmit Carpenter.

“[I found out] a couple days before the game,” Santoso said. “It was neck-and-neck between [Carpenter] and I, and I’m sure we’ll split it through the season.”

Oregon State has an offense that averaged 26.2 points per game a season ago. However, the team’s defense allowed 30.5 points per game.

The Gophers have a chance to exploit that defense as the team attempts to find rhythm in the offense, coming off a game where they scored just 17 points against Buffalo.

“[The offense will] be ready for anything,” said quarterback Conor Rhoda. “I’m glad that we have those guys on defense that we have, though.”

Notebook:

-According to the Star Tribune, Fleck said on KFAN 100.3 FM Tuesday that wide receiver Chris Autman-Bell has a broken foot and will likely be redshirted this season.

-Start time: 9 p.m. CST.

-Location: Corvallis, Ore., Reser Stadium.

Network: Fox Sports 1

-Fleck also said that he is still looking for one of the two co-starting quarterbacks in Rhoda and Demry Croft to take sole possession of the starting job.

-The Gophers’ depth chart switched offensive linemen Conner Olson from left guard to right guard, and Garrison Wright was switched from right guard to left guard.

Line: Oregon State by 2.5

Minnesota depth chart

Oregon State depth chart