Bowl game or bust? Gophers believe they'll get there

9:48 AM, Aug 16, 2012   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - The start of the season always brings optimism.

Players at Minnesota insist this is different. They're determined to get back to a bowl game.

Gophers coach Jerry Kill has a history of guiding improvement. At each of his previous stops, Saginaw Valley State, Emporia State, Southern Illinois and Northern Illinois, Kill's teams had a better record in his second year.

Minnesota is coming off consecutive 3-9 finishes. Quarterback MarQueis Gray returns after an up-and-down first season as a starter. Running back and wide receiver positions are wide open, but the offensive line is more experienced and largely intact. The development of a mostly young defense might be the biggest key for the Gophers this year.

The season opener is Aug. 30 at UNLV.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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