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Gophers want to 'show people what Minnesota football is all about'

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It's been nearly 40 years since the Gophers beat a top 10 team at home.

The last time it happened: 1977, when Minnesota shutout No. 1 Michigan 16-0, according to Omaha.com.

Thursday night's primetime game on ESPN will be Minnesota's newest opportunity to break that streak when they host No. 2-ranked TCU, which comes into the season with the country's most prolific offense.

"This is a chance for us to make a statement," running back Rodrick Williams Jr told ESPN. "We can show people what Minnesota football is all about."

TCU averaged 46.5 points per game last season; good for second in the nation in 2014 – and it returns 10 starters on offense, led by Heisman hopeful, senior quarterback, Trevone Boykin.

“It’ll be by far the toughest test we have all year with the skill people they have. They got everybody back, and [Boykin’s] special,” Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill said Tuesday, via KFAN.com. “Our secondary, this will be their test.”

Boykin threw for 258 yards and two touchdowns against Minnesota last season.

Bring the noise

An amped up crowd at TCF Bank Stadium could be a huge factor in the game. Minnesota is expecting its first home sellout crowd of more than 52,000 fans for the first time since the 2013 Wisconsin game,

“I heard Coach Kill talk about them being a fast-paced offense,” Gophers senior cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun said, per the Star Tribune. “It kind of slows down the communication the louder [the fans] are. When you’re away, the crowd is usually quiet on third down because they want their quarterback to succeed. That’s the biggest difference between being home and away.”

Why Minnesota lost last season

Getting blasted 30-7 last season was an "embarrassment," according to Kill, per FOX Sports North.

But forget about the embarrassing part of the outcome. Omaha.com notes that Minnesota had five turnovers and TCU didn't have a scoring drive longer than 39 yards. The Gophers also lost starting quarterback Mitch Leidner and last year's leading rusher David Cobb to injuries in that game.

Predictions

OddsShark.com has TCU crushing Minnesota 41-21. It falls in line with all of the sportsbooks in Las Vegas, none of which have TCU favored by fewer than 14.5 points.

SportsBettingStats.com has the over/under for total points in the game at 57, but the site says don't be surprised if TCU scores that many points on its own. Ouch.

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