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Gophers vs. Eastern Michigan: 5 things you can count on

After Gophers' brutal loss, P.J. Fleck finds 'therapy' and players have  'heart-to-heart' talk

The Minnesota Gophers host Eastern Michigan at Huntington Bank Stadium on Saturday night in an attempt to move their record to 2-0.

Although Minnesota finished in the left-hand column after a thrilling victory over Nebraska, there are still a few areas that need improvement.

When the Gophers play on Saturday night, you can expect the following five things.
1. An improved running game performance

Strong running play has been a defining characteristic of P.J. Fleck’s time with the Gophers, but it was absent from last week’s victory over the Cornhuskers.

Minnesota’s offensive line, which features three new starters, struggled to get going against the Huskers’ 3-3-5 defense, and the team only managed 58 yards of total offense on 17 carries against Nebraska.

Given that the Eagles allowed 239 rushing yards to FCS opponent Howard last week and 156.1 rushing yards per game last season, the Gophers should have an easier time running the ball against Eastern Michigan.

Sean Tyler, a transfer from Western Michigan, and the rest of the Gophers backfield ought to perform well against the Eagles after Mohammed Ibrahim left due to graduation.
2. A game of smashmouth

This coming Saturday is going to be your kind of game if you enjoy the running game.

With 1,166 yards and 15 touchdowns from running last season, Samson Evans leads the Eagles’ potent running attack. Although Evans only managed 52 yards on 16 carries in Week 1’s game against Howard, the Eagles will try to get Evans the ball along with deft change-of-pace back Jaylon Jackson.
Austin Smith, the dual-threat quarterback for the Gophers, may be a greater threat than one. Smith lacks the athleticism that Jeff Sims, the quarterback for Nebraska, displayed last week, but Sims was still able to run



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