South Dakota Preview: Part 3

We take a closer look at three players to keep an eye on this game from each team as well as breakdown the injuries for both squads.

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

GOPHERS:

RB Donnell Kirkwood -- The true freshman was impressive in his first game rumbling for 50 yards on 12 carries. Coach Brewster was impressed with his performance which could lead to more carries for Kirkwood this game. If Minnesota gets a comfortable lead expect the 5-foot-10, 200-pounder to grind out the clock late in the game. With another impressive performance he may surpass DeLeon Eskridge on the depth chart.

DE D.L. Wilhite -- "He just chased all night long," Brewster said about Wilhite, who won the team's extra effort award. "They were set up. They had the quarterback in the gun and the quick passing game from the gun. We knew we weren't going to get to the quarterback a whole lot. But I tell you what, he chased the football all night long and just did a great job as far as his effort was concerned." If Wilhite plays with the same effort and intensity this week he should disrupt more than a few plays behind the line scrimmage.

ATH MarQueis Gray -- Gray played a lot against MTSU but only caught one pass for 22 yards and didn't throw a pass or run the ball. Gray is so versatile and so explosive for his size, Minnesota needs to find creative ways to get him the ball in space. This might be the perfect game for offensive coordinator Jeff Horton to incorporate Gray into the game plan more, before powerhouse USC rolls into town next week.

COYOTES:

ILB Adam Broders -- The Coyotes run a 3-4 base defense and Adam Broders will need to have a big game if they expect to stifle the Gopher rushing attack. The inside linebacker made eight tackles and one tackle for loss. South Dakota will need nose tackle Evan Capper to eat up blockers and allow Broders to attack the middle of the Gopher line.

CB Marquis Butler -- The 6-foot-0, 190-pound junior made his first in a USD uniform last week and responded with 6 total tackles. What he lacks in experience he makes up for in physical ability. This week, Butler will be challenged and he will need to be physical and use his size as he lines up against 6-foot-3 Da'Jon McKnight or 6-foot-4 MarQueis Gray.

QB Dante Warren -- Like Butler, Warren made his first career start against UCF. While he only led the offense to one touchdown and 104 yards passing against the Knights, he didn't turn the ball over or get sacked. Warren will likely need to take some chances down field and challenge the Gopher secondary.

INJURY WATCH:

Gophers:

FS Kim Royston (leg, doubtful), SS Kyle Theret (suspension, doubtful), OT Dom Alford (suspension, doubtful)

Coyotes:

FS Jimmy Thompson (collarbone, doubtful)

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