In a season that has drifted way, way off course, a game against the surging Wolverines has the potential to get out of hand. No doubt Michigan remembers the Gophers' celebration at midfield after a 23-20 upset back in 2005.
"To me, this is a really fun week," Gophers coach Tim Brewster said. "The motivational ploys don't need to be there. Our kids understand that we have to prepare our butts off and play extremely well if we want to beat Michigan in their backyard."
The Gophers don't match up well in any aspect. They are ranked last in Division I-A in total defense, allowing 533 yards per game. They gave up 585 total yards, including 394 rushing to North Dakota State last week. That does not bode well, especially if Michigan's Mike Hart returns from a high ankle sprain.
The Gophers' offense had one of its worst outings of the season against NDSU, managing only 307 total yards. They had only 125 rushing yards and lost starting tailback Jay Thomas to a season-ending knee injury in the process.
Minnesota, which is playing seven true freshmen, also hasn't played a road game in a difficult environment. The team's three road dates were against Florida Atlantic, Indiana and Northwestern. The average attendance for those games was 22,027. It will be interesting to see how the young Gophers handle their first trip to the Big House.