The Minnesota Golden Gophers have finished with a winning record the past two seasons, after finishing 2012 under .500. Head coach Jerry Kill seems to finally have somewhat of a grip on the program after finishing tied for 2nd place in the Big Ten West last season and being invited to play in the Citrus Bowl against Missouri.
Michigan faced some problems last season against Minnesota, losing 30-14. Here are the players who may give Michigan some troubles in their 2015 matchup.
Mitch Leidner (QB)
Leidner will be a junior this fall and will now have the chance to be the leader the Gophers will need. After standouts Maxx Williams and David Cobb left for the 2015 NFL Draft, Minnesota lost a lot of its leadership and star power. Leidner will have to step into that role after a very average sophomore campaign.
Last year against the Wolverines, Leidner wasn’t at his best but was efficient. He completed 14 of 22 passes for 167 yards and a touchdown. He didn’t have to be flashy to help Minnesota win as Cobb ran for 183 yards, which was more than double that of Michigan’s run offense that game. Now that Cobb is gone, Minnesota will rely more on Leidner and look for him to take over the offense. Since this matchup is later in the year, on Halloween to be exact, he could have already solidified himself as the leader of the squad and really be troublesome for the Wolverines.
Briean Boddy-Calhoun (CB)
I think it would simply be wrong to say Boddy-Calhoun won’t be the player to watch for on the Minnesota defense come Oct. 31. Last year Boddy-Calhoun was tied for 4th in the Big Ten in interceptions and tied for 4th in passes defended. His five interceptions was tied for 3rd all-time in Minnesota single season history. He played in all 13 games for the Golden Gophers and was named to the All-Big Ten First Team by the media and All-Big Ten Second Team by conference coaches.
Last season against Michigan, Boddy-Calhoun had two tackles and broke up two passes. He didn’t have a very good game statistically, but he was still all around the field locking down receivers. The Michigan pass game was very weak, with Shane Morris and Devin Gardner combining for 10 of 25 passing for 88 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. Boddy-Calhoun was a big reason for these horrible stats by Wolverines quarterbacks, and he will be back at it when Michigan takes on Minnesota in late October.