Game 1: UNLV at Minnesota
FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
1. Home at last! The Gophers begin the 2013 college football season at the magnificent TCF Bank Stadium for the first time in the stadium's five-year history. The Gophers last played a home opener in 2008, when they beat now coach Jerry Kill and Northern Illinois 31-27 (game was Coach Kill's first at NIU) in Minnesota's last season in the Metrodome. This year's home game snaps a four-year stretch of beginning the season on the road, which was the longest span in program history. Minnesota was also the only major conference team to open on the road four straight years from 2009-12. Since 1993, Minnesota has started the season 10 times at home. The Gophers are 8-2 in those games, posting wins in 2008, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2000, 1999, 1998 and 1995.
2. Minnesota's game against UNLV on Aug. 29 is the earliest that the Gophers have ever started a season. The contest will be Minnesota's eighth August game ever. The previous seven games were played on either Aug. 30 (3-2 record, including last year's triple-overtime win at UNLV) or 31 (2-0 record). The last time the Gophers played a home game in August was 2008, when Minnesota beat Coach Kill's Northern Illinois squad.
3. There is loyalty and then there is loyalty to Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill. The Gopher coaching staff is the most tenured in the nation. The group of Kill's nine assistants and strength and conditioning coach has served under him for a collective 124 years, which is by far the most in the nation. Minnesota is also one of 18 schools that return all nine assistants from 2012 to 2013. The Gophers and Northwestern are the only schools in the nation that have had the same nine assistants for three straight years.
4. Coach Kill is one of 12 head coaches in the Big Ten. He is also the coach with the most career wins to his resume, as his 136 victories are more than any of his conference peers. Ohio State's Urban Meyer (116 career wins) and Iowa's Kirk Ferentz (112 wins) are the only other coaches in the league with more than 100 career wins. Kill is in his fifth stint as a college head coach. Of the five teams he has guided, four of them had posted four or fewer wins in the season prior to his arrival, which makes his 136 career wins even more impressive. Saginaw Valley State won four games before Kill was hired, while Southern Illinois and Minnesota won three games prior to hiring Kill. Northern Illinois posted two wins in the season prior to Kill's arrival.
5. Minnesota enters the season with the second youngest and most inexperienced quarterback corps in the nation. The Gophers are only one of two teams in the county that meet the following criteria 1.) does not have a junior or senior on the roster and 2.) quarterbacks have combined to play fewer than 10 career games. Redshirt sophomore Dexter Foreman is the oldest quarterback on the roster, while sophomore Philip Nelson is the only quarterback who has played in a game. Florida State has the youngest and most inexperienced group in the nation, as the five underclassman Seminole quarterbacks have appeared in a combined four games. Other schools are close, as Iowa and FAU do not have a quarterback who has taken a collegiate snap, but both schools list upperclassmen on their roster. Georgia Tech's oldest quarterback is a redshirt sophomore, but the group has played in 12 games. Baylor has five quarterbacks on its roster who have played in 11 career games, but starter Bryce Petty is a junior. Utah's five quarterbacks are all underclassmen, but sophomores Adam Schulz and Travis Wilson have played in 13 combined games.
Please click here for Minnesota's complete game notes.