Minnesota-UNLV Game Notes

Go Gophers!
Go Gophers!

Go Gophers!

Aug. 31, 2012

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SERIES NOTES
•    Minnesota opened its 129th season of college football by making its first visit to the Silver State to face UNLV.
•    The contest was the first ever between Minnesota and UNLV and the first for the Gophers against a Mountain West Conference foe since opening TCF Bank Stadium with a 20-13 victory over Air Force.
•    Tonight's win improved the Gophers to 6-2 all-time against current members of the Mountain West Conference.
•    With tonight's victory, Minnesota has now won four games in a row against current MWC members.
•    Tonight's game is the first of a two-game, home-and-home series with the Rebels. Minnesota will open its 2013 season vs. UNLV at TCF Bank Stadium.

TEAM NOTES
•    Minnesota is 90-33-6 all-time in season openers after defeating UNLV tonight.
•    The Gophers have now won four of their last five season debuts and 9 of 11 since 2002.
•    Tonight's season debut ended a string of four consecutive years of opening on the road for Minnesota. The Gophers are scheduled to open their 2013 season at home against UNLV. It will be the first time Minnesota has started a season at home since 2008. The Gophers are the only major conference team to open on the road every season from 2009-12.
•    The Gophers' record when opening the season on the road improved to 14-17-2 with today's win. Minnesota has now won five of its last six season road openers (2012 at UNLV, 2010 at Middle Tennessee, 2009 at Syracuse, 2006 at Kent State, 2005 at Tulsa). The lone loss was a 19-17 setback at USC in 2011.
•    Tonight's game was the seventh in program history to be played in August and the first August opener for Minnesota since 2008. The Gophers are now 5-2 in games played during the month of August.
•    Jerry Kill's all-time record in season openers improved to 11-8 with tonight's win. It was Kill's first win in a season opener since 2007, when his Southern Illinois team defeated Quincy, 59-14.
•    Tonight's overtime game was the Gophers' first OT game since winning its 2009 opener at Syracuse, 23-20.
•    With tonight's game going into overtime, Minnesota has now played overtime in three of its last six season openers.
•    Tonight's win was the first for the Gophers on the road since defeating Illinois on Nov. 13, 2010. The victory snapped a five-game road losing streak for Minnesota and was the Gophers' first road win under Coach Kill.
•    Minnesota's last 3OT game came against came vs. Miami (Ohio) in 2007. The Gophers also won that game.
•    Minnesota's 478 total yards were its most since compiling 505 vs. Michigan State in 2009.
•    With 209 yards rushing, the Gophers have now rushed for more than 200 yards in their last two games (UNLV/Illinois).
•    Minnesota's 30 points were its most under Jerry Kill and the Gophers' most since scoring 38 at Illinois in 2010.
•    Minnesota's defense has now held both of its last two opponents under 300 yards of total offense. The Gophers first 11 opponents of 2011 all gained over 300 yards of total offense.
•    Nine different Gophers caught passes tonight for Minnesota. The most receivers in a game during 2011 was seven vs. Michigan State.
•    Four Gophers made their first career receptions - Maye, Fruechte, McDonald and Engel.

INDIVIDUAL NOTES
•    Eight Gophers made their first career starts tonight vs. UNLV. Junior Zach Mottla (C), redshirt freshman Josh Campion (RT), sophomore Devin Crawford-Tufts (WR) and true freshman Jamel Harbison (WR) opened the game on the offensive side of the ball. On defense, Ra'Shede Hageman (DT), Cameron Botticelli (DT), sophomore Derrick Wells (S) and sophomore Cedric Thompson (S) made their first career starts.
•    A total of eight true freshmen made their career debuts for the Gophers tonight - KJ Maye, Damarius Travis, Antonio Johnson, Andre McDonald, Jamel Harbison, Eric Murray, Christian Eldred and Scott Ekpe.
•    After a string of injuries and sitting out a transfer season, junior Brendan Beal finally played his first college football game. He ended the game with three assisted tackles.
•    Senior MarQueis Gray's 269 yards passing were the second most in his career and just the third time he passed for more than 200 yards in a game. He finished the game with 337 yards of total offense.
•    Sophomore Donnell Kirkwood's 81 rushing yards were career high. His previous best came last season vs. North Dakota State with 70 yards. His 13 caries equaled the most of his career.
•    Junior James Gillum tallied his first touchdown as a Gopher, scoring on a 16-yard run with 9:26 to play in the second quarter. He finished with 51 yards on 14 carries in his major college debut.
•    Junior Brock Vereen hauled in his second career interception. It was his first pick since game two last season vs. New Mexico State and stopped a first quarter UNLV drive at the Gophers' 16-yard line.
•    Sophomore Derrick Wells' fourth-quarter interception to set up a go-ahead field was the first of his career. He added a second in overtime to help the Gophers set up their game-winning possession.
•    Junior A.J. Barker entered the game with one career reception for 17 yards. He had three tonight for a team-high 101 yards.
•    Junior Derrick Engel made his first career catch as a Gopher count. It went for 33 yards.
•    Wettstein's 32-yard fourth-quarter field goal was the seventh of his career. He added a 21-yarder in the fourth quarter and a 32-yarder in overtime to finish the game 3 for 4 on the night. He has now made 9 of 10 career field goal attempts.
•    Rabe's TD catches in OT were the third and fourth of his career.