Before each Minnesota football game, GopherDigest will ask five questions of an opposing beat writer. This week, we talked with Colroado State beat writer Keegan Pope of The Rocky Mountain Collegian (Fort Collins, Colo.) to preview the Gophers' Week 2 away game against the Colorado State Rams.
1) Kent State started the season with a loss to Illinois 52-3, but rebounded with a 45-13 win over Delaware State last weekend. How big of a surprise is it with this start to the season and what have you learned about this team through two games?
SM: Not surprised by the loss to Illinois or by the win over Delaware State. What did surprise me is how they beat Delaware State. Delaware State had a total of -33 yards and really only scored off the mistakes and turnover made by Kent State. What I’ve seen early from Kent State is that they have a chance to be really good but they also could be really awful. Illinois is a better team than Kent State, but their level of play didn’t help their case. While against Delaware State they were already the better team on top of the fact that they played extremely well. At this point my question is can they consistently play as well as they did against Delaware State.
2) What kind of offense does Kent State run and who are the playmakers to watch?
SM: In the spring Kent State promote coach Don Treadwell to offensive coordinator. Treadwell then introduced the spread offense. The idea was to speed things up and get the ball into the hands of their playmakers and just letting them play.
3) Fifth-year senior April Goss kicked an extra point becoming just the second woman to score in a major college football game, what's been the reception for April out in Ohio? Also, what's the story there?
SM: Right now the biggest story is that she’s only the second female to ever player college football (the first was Katie Hnida in 2003). As for the players and coaches, they celebrated the accomplishment with her as well as the win but now have shifted their focus to Minnesota.
4) What are the strengths of the Golden Flashes defense and who are a few names to keep an eye on for the game this Saturday?
SM: The two biggest names to look out for Defensively are Nate Holley and Nate Terhune. Holley has been the team’s best defensive player the last two seasons. Terhune is coming off a big time game against Delaware State where he scored his first defensive touchdown of his career.
5) What are the keys for Kent State if they're going to beat the Gophers and what's your prediction for the Minnesota vs. Kent State game and why?
Two keys to beating the Gophers
- Penalties and Turnovers: As a mid major school when you play a team from any of the power five conferences you already come in kind of over powered and out matched. Minnesota is going to score Saturday, but you can’t give them extra opportunities by not taking care of the ball or aiding them by not being disciplined.
- Learn from the Toledo v. Arkansas game: That game should be an example of how a smaller school can beat a power five conference school. During Monday’s press conference head coach Paul Haynes talked about how they have to take advantage of every opportunity. When you get into the red zone you have to score and they have to win the turnover battle.
My prediction: Minnesota 35, Kent State 10. The Flashes have a lot of positive momentum coming into this game. No I don’t think they are going to win, but I do think that they can put some type of challenge up and make the game interesting for at least two quarters.