Game 3: Western Michigan at Minnesota
Five Things You Need To Know
1. The Gophers have not played Western Michigan since 1977, but head coach Jerry Kill is familiar with the Broncos. Kill's Northern Illinois teams faced Western Michigan each year from 2008-10 and Kill also coached against the Broncos when he was at Southern Illinois in 2005. At Northern Illinois, Kill posted a 2-1 record against the Broncos. His Huskies lost 29-26 on the road in 2008 in Kill's second career game at Northern Illinois. In 2009, Kill guided the Huskies to a 38-3 homecoming victory and then posted a 28-21 road win in 2010. In 2005, while at Southern Illinois, Kill's team fell 34-28 at Western Michigan.
2. The Gophers are 3-0 all-time against the Broncos, but the schools have not met since they played three straight years - 1975, 1976 and 1977 - in Minneapolis. The Gophers won those games 38-0, 21-10 and 10-7 respectively. Minnesota has played 31 games against schools from the Mid-American Conference and have a combined 26-4-1 record. Minnesota's last game against a MAC school was a 29-23 home win (first win at Minnesota for Kill) against Miami (Ohio) in 2011. Minnesota's last loss to a MAC opponent was a 34-23 defeat to a Northern Illinois tean, which was led by Kill, in 2010.
3. Quarterback MarQueis Gray accounted for four touchdowns last week against New Hampshire. Gray ran for two scores and passed for two. Gray ran for 109 yards and passed for 100, as he went over the century mark in both categories in the same game for the fourth time in his career. Gray also recorded his fifth 100-yard rushing game, which is a record for a Minnesota quarterback (Billy Cockerham and Rickey Foggie each had four).
4. Minnesota beat New Hampshire 44-7 last Saturday. The 44 points are the most that Minnesota has ever scored at TCF Bank Stadium. The previous high was 42 points, which the Gophers scored in a 42-34 win against Michigan State in 2009. The 44 points are also the most for Minnesota since it lost 49-48 in double overtime at Northwestern in 2007. It is the most points in regulation for Minnesota since it won 63-26 against Indiana in 2006 (also last time Minnesota scored more than 44 points at home).
5. The Gophers have four interceptions this year, already equaling their total from last season. Derrick Wells picked off two passes and Brock Vereen had one interception at UNLV. Martez Shabazz notched his first career interception against New Hampshire. The Gophers are tied for eighth nationally in interceptions. However, they have only one return yard, which is the fewest of the 13 teams who have four or more interceptions this season.
Click on the Game Notes link above for Minnesota's complete game notes.