Game 2: Minnesota at New Mexico State
FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW:
1. Minnesota opened the college football season with a 51-23 home win against UNLV on Aug. 29. Minnesota scored touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams for the first time since it did so in a 35-0 win against Louisiana-Monroe on Sept. 11, 1999 (Gophers had three rushing touchdowns, one interception return and one blocked punt return that game). Minnesota also scored three touchdowns of 50 yards or longer against UNLV, which was the first time that had happened since the Gophers beat Northwestern 45-33 on Oct. 10, 1987 (Rickie Foggie threw an 80-yard pass and ran for a 71-yard score, while Darrell Thompson ran for a 60-yard touchdown). The Gophers returned a kickoff and a blocked field goal for scores, giving them two special teams touchdowns against UNLV. The last time Minnesota did that was when Tutu Atwell returned kickoffs for 89 and 93 yards in a 53-29 win against Iowa State on Sept. 13, 1997. Minnesota scored 21 points in the fourth quarter against UNLV. The last time the Gophers scored 21 points in any quarter was Nov. 7, 2009, when they scored 22 fourth-quarter points against Illinois.
3. The Gophers scored seven touchdowns against UNLV and six of those seven touchdowns were scored by different players. Quarterback Philip Nelson, who scored two rushing touchdowns, was the only Gopher to find the end zone twice. The scores were the first touchdowns of Nelson's career. In addition to Nelson, Minnesota also had four other players - Maxx Williams (first career catch), Martez Shabazz, Briean Boddy-Calhoun and Mitch Leidner - find the end zone for the first time in their careers..
4. Kill's reputation as a turnaround artist has continued at Minnesota. The Gophers were 3-9 in his first season, but reached a bowl game and finished 6-7 in 2012. The Gophers are 1-0 this year giving Kill a 10-16 record at Minnesota. Kill's rebuilding of the Minnesota program is also taking place in the classroom. The Gophers recorded a 994 Academic Progress Rate for the 2011-12 season, the first under Kill. The 994 score is the highest single-season score that Minnesota has ever recorded and only 10 teams have tied or beaten a 994 since the NCAA made single-season scores available.
5. Briean Boddy-Calhoun made his first interception a memorable one. The junior picked off a UNLV pass and raced 89 yards along the Minnesota sideline for a score. His interception return for a touchdown is the third longest in Minnesota history (Gary Hohman 99 yards vs. Nebraska on Oct. 4, 1969; Ed Duren 95 yards vs. Iowa on Oct. 15, 1966).
Minnesota's complete game notes can be read here.