|Minnesota (4-2, 0-2) at Northwestern (4-2, 0-2)|
|Date||Saturday, October 19|
|Time||11:01 a.m. Central|
|Location||Evanston, Ill. | Ryan Field (47,130)|
|Radio||KFAN 100.3 FM | Gopher Radio Network|
|Live Blog||Game Day Live|
|Game Notes||Minnesota | Northwestern|
|Social Media||@GopherFootball | Facebook|
Five Things You Need To Know
1. The Gophers travel to Northwestern on Saturday for a contest against the Wildcats. The Gophers and Northwestern are both 4-2 overall, but are also both 0-2 in Big Ten play. Minnesota will be playing its third road game of the season, as it won at New Mexico State and fell at Michigan. The game will also be played on natural grass, which will be Minnesota's second game this year on natural grass. The Gophers snapped an eight-game losing streak on natural grass when they won 44-21 at New Mexico State on Sept. 7. Prior to the win at New Mexico State, the Gophers' last win on natural grass was a 35-24 win at Northwestern in 2009. The 2009 game was also the last time that Minnesota beat the Wildcats, as Northwestern has won the last three games. The Gophers lead the all-time series 50-33-5.
2. On Oct. 10, 2013, it was announced that coach Jerry Kill would continue to take time to focus on his treatment and better manage his epilepsy. As he has done in previous situations, defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys will serve as the acting head coach while Kill is away. Claeys, who is in his 19th year as a member of Kill's staff, served as Minnesota's acting head coach on Oct. 5 at Michigan.
3. The Gophers rank second in the Big Ten in both red zone offense and defense this year. Minnesota is tied for eighth in the nation in red zone offense and for 21st in red zone defense. On offense, the Gophers are 21-for-22 (95.5 percent) in the red zone this year (second in the Big Ten behind Northwestern, which is 25-for-26 for 96.2 percent). Minnesota has scored 16 touchdowns (14 rushing, two passing) in the red zone this year and is a perfect 5-for-5 on field goals. Minnesota's opponents have encountered the red zone 21 times, but have put points on the board only 15 times (71.4 percent). The Gophers have allowed 12 touchdowns (eight rushing, four passing) and three field goals in the red zone. Minnesota has two red zone interceptions this year and also stopped its opponents twice on downs.
4. Thirteen of Minnesota's 26 offensive scoring drives (50 percent) this year have been produced by drives that lasted nine plays or longer. Minnesota's longest drive this season took 16 plays and 9:44 and covered 75 yards before a first quarter touchdown at Michigan. Last year, the Gophers churned out 20 drives of nine plays or longer on 47 scoring drives (42 percent). Minnesota's longest drive last year was also 16 plays, but lasted 8:16 and covered 85 yards before a third quarter touchdown against New Hampshire.
5. Redshirt freshman tight end Maxx Williams has 10 catches this year for 153 yards. He has two touchdowns this year, which leads all Minnesota receivers. Williams had a breakout game at Michigan, where he caught five passes (one touchdown) for 54 yards. Dating back to last season, four of Minnesota's last six passing touchdowns have gone to a tight end.
You can read Minnesota's complete game notes here.
Fleck Announces Coaching Staff
Football coach P.J. Fleck announced today the hiring of nine assistant coaches and four staff members.
Register Now For Feb. 1 Signing Day Social
Minnesota will host its 2017 Signing Day Social – the first under head coach P.J. Fleck – on Feb. 1 in the DQ Club Room at TCF Bank Stadium.
Murray Named All-Pro By Pro Football Focus
Eric Murray was recently named to the Pro Football Focus All-Pro team. Murray was the lone "Special Teamer" recognized by Pro Football Focus.