Emerging Gophers

Who looked good, who is emerging and what still needs work for the Gophers as they prepare for their toughest opponent of the season in Michigan.

BEST GAME: QB Asad Abdul-Khaliq -- He had the best day of his career in throwing for 331 yards and four touchdowns. Those close to the Minnesota program know that Abdul-Khaliq is a solid quarterback with toughness and intelligence. Now, he just needs to knock off a big-name opponent to get more recognition.

KEEP AN EYE ON: WR Jared Ellerson -- He caught a 96-yard TD pass that lit the fuse for the Gophers. Ellerson caught four passes for 189 yards, including an 82-yard scoring pass in the third quarter.

QUOTE TO NOTE: v"I think a lot of teams are going to see that we can attack you from both ways, running or passing. People are definitely going to have to respect the passing game now." -- Minnesota QB Asad Abdul-Khaliq after shattering Northwestern with a career-best passing performance.

Minnesota has demonstrated a versatile offense. While the running game is still the team's predominant strength, head coach Glen Mason knows that he has the weapons to also be a threat in the passing game.

STILL NEEDS WORK: The Gophers got off to a very slow start against Northwestern. While they have plenty of firepower and overcame that early deficit before the end of the second quarter, they could have problems in upcoming games -- against Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Iowa -- if they don't get out of the gate quicker.

INJURY IMPACT: RT Mike Nicholson didn't play against Northwestern because he was sick with the flu.

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