The Minnesota Golden Gophers will open the season in opposition to New Mexico State on Thursday night time, however whereas the Aggies have been one of many worst packages in school soccer lately, they arrive into the opener as a relative unknown.
The excellent news for the Gophers is that the Aggies opened their season in opposition to Nevada on Saturday night time – shedding 23-12 – so was there something that they may be taught heading into the opener?
Gavin Frakes will in all probability be the beginning quarterback
Jerry Kill’s first task at New Mexico State was to discover a beginning quarterback. Diego Pavia obtained the beginning in opposition to Nevada, however turned the ball over 4 instances (three interceptions, one fumble) within the first half earlier than being changed by Gavin Frakes.
Frakes entered the sport down 17-2 and appeared extra snug within the offense. He went 9-for-13 for 143 yards and threw a goal-line fade to Kordell David into the again nook of the tip zone for his first profession landing.
Kill was non-committal after the sport over who would get the beginning in opposition to Minnesota however Saturday’s efficiency signifies that Frakes must be the frontrunner.
The Aggies wish to run the ball
The working sport was one of many staples of Kill’s offense throughout his time at Minnesota and that philosophy hasn’t modified along with his transfer to New Mexico State.
The Gophers ranked within the high 5 amongst Large Ten groups in dashing makes an attempt per sport throughout Kill’s four-plus seasons at Minnesota, and in his lone season because the offensive coordinator at Rutgers in 2017, Kill’s offense ran the ball (36.4 makes an attempt per sport) greater than they threw it (22.9 makes an attempt per sport).
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Kill tried to determine the run sport in opposition to the Wolfpack, however the Aggies averaged simply 3.4 yards per carry. The Aggies had been additionally compelled to take to the air as soon as they fell behind, main Kill to lament about his staff’s capacity to run the ball after the sport.
The Aggies’ protection is harder than you suppose
New Mexico State allowed 23 factors of their opener, however their protection did sufficient to maintain the Aggies within the sport.
Nevada ran for 179 yards on Saturday night time however wanted 45 makes an attempt to achieve that quantity – a median of 4 yards per carry. The Wolfpack additionally collected 78 of these yards on their two closing drives of the sport, which means the Aggies largely did their job on the bottom.
This could possibly be a giant consider Thursday’s sport. The Gophers ranked eighth in dashing makes an attempt final season and though they need to have extra steadiness underneath offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca, Mohamed Ibrahim and Trey Potts can have their palms full.
The Aggies will flip the ball over
Kill’s staff did some issues proper in opposition to the Wolfpack, however one of many issues they did not do was defend the soccer.
We already mentioned Pavia’s 4 turnovers within the first half however Frakes additionally tossed an interception, giving the Wolfpack 5 takeaways on the night time.
That quantity is indicative of the rising pains on the roster but it surely additionally allowed Nevada to work on a brief subject on an evening the place the Aggies held them to 257 yards of whole offense.
“You’re by no means going to win within the sport of soccer turning the ball over 5 instances,” Kill instructed reporters after the sport. “I instructed the youngsters I’ll by no means get on them for taking part in exhausting, however the profitable system is you’ll be able to’t flip the ball over 5 instances.”