Kill Calls Game With NSDU 'Huge'

Now that the Golden Gophers finally got in the win column, head coach Jerry Kill isn't about to overlook anyone on the schedule.

Kill knows his team will have to be ready when North Dakota State, which plays in the Football Championship Subdivision, visits TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday night. Kill doesn't want to see the momentum the Gophers picked up from last week's 29-23 win over Miami get wasted.

"To me this is a huge game for us, it really is," he said. "We need to get better. We need to play well. We need to get it done."

Even though the Bison play at the FCS level, Kill realizes the Gophers can't take any opponent for granted.

"It comes down to Saturday, you play the game, and the team that makes the least mistakes usually wins," he said. "That's what it's going to come down to."

Having coached at Emporia State (Division II) and Southern Illinois (FCS/formerly Division 1-AA), Kill knows full well about the lack of respect programs from lower divisions get around college football.

"I lived with that I-AA and Division II label and all that, and I'm the same guy that we were I-AA and we went to Indiana and kicked their butt," he said.

Kill realizes once the games begin labels, divisions and conferences don't matter.

"Those things you can throw out the door," he said. "That's why college football is such a great sport. You don't know who is going to win from week to week. That's why you play. It don't matter what damn level it is. You'd better hook it up."

North Dakota, which had a bye last week, was dominating in winning its first two games.

"They have some good players," he said. "No disrespect to anybody else on our schedule -- no disrespect to Miami -- we'll have to play better than we did against Miami to win."

Kill will be coaching his second game since suffering a seizure on the sidelines two weeks ago against New Mexico State.

NOTES

--Kicker Chris Hawthorne eased a lot of nerves by making all three of his field goal attempts against Miami. He connected from 33, 19 and 26 yards. The North Carolina State transfer had made only one of four attempts in the first two games.

--Minnesota fans certainly haven't forgotten the Gophers' last meeting with North Dakota State, which took place on Oct. 20, 2007 and ended in a 27-21 loss. Minnesota allowed 585 total yards and a roughing the punter penalty late in the fourth quarter ended any chance of a comeback.

--A win Saturday would give the Gophers a .500 record for the first time since they were 6-6 at the end of the 2009 regular season.

--Minnesota's record against current members of the Football Championship Subdivision is 52-3.

THIS WEEK'S GAME: North Dakota State at Minnesota, Sept. 24 -- North Dakota State is currently ranked No. 8 in the most recent Football Championship Subdivision rankings. The Bison are 2-0 and had a bye last week. North Dakota State has outscored its opponents 98-9.

KEYS TO THE GAME: Remember the Coyotes. After beating Middle Tennessee in last season's opener, the Gophers hosted South Dakota, a Football Championship Subdivision team. A 2-0 record looked like a sure thing, but a not-so-funny thing happened. Minnesota fell 41-38, which began a nine-game losing streak and triggered a series of events that included the firing of head coach Tim Brewster. North Dakota State visits TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday. It would be wise if the Gophers didn't overlook this FCS team.


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