Gophers get serious for Big Ten opener against Iowa

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When the clock strikes 2:30 p.m. Saturday there will be a sold out crowd hoping to get loud as the Gophers and Hawkeyes get together for the Big Ten opener at TCF Bank Stadium.

The 4-0 Gophers were supposed to go undefeated through the cupcake (non-conference) portion of the schedule. Now fans will finally find out if this team is for real.

"There's no margin for error," Jerry Kill told the Pioneer Press on Friday. "If we turn over the ball and have penalties, then you'll see something in the loss column. There's a reason we've had success to this point. But you're only as good as your last game. Those games are all over. So what's our discipline and what's our focus going to be (in a) bigger game, in the Big Ten, in a rival game?"

WCCO points out that Minnesota has the fewest penalties in the Big Ten through four games (10).

Marcus Fuller doesn't have a prediction for the game against Iowa, but he does predict the Gophers will finish the season 6-6 overall. That means a 2-6 record in the Big Ten. Ouch.

Fuller says a major key to the game will be stopping Iowa tailback Mark Weisman. Weisman ran for 177 yards (155 in the first half) as the Hawkeyes dismantled the Gophers in Iowa last season.

If history tells us anything, it's that Minnesota has been very good against Iowa on homecoming. The Daily Gopher has the all-time homecoming record against Iowa at 10-2 -- in favor of the Maroon and Gold.

Here's the official depth chart and injury report for the game. Philip Nelson and Mitch Leidner are listed as the possible starting quarterback for the Gophers.

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