Eastern Illinois Panthers vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers
Minnesota opens its season by hosting Eastern Illinois. Eastern Illinois, of the FCS, finished its season at 12-2 on the year, losing to Towson in the FCS Playoffs quarterfinals. Minnesota finished its season at 8-5 overall, including 4-4 in the Big Ten.
Details for Thursday's game are below:
Kickoff: 7:00 p.m. ET
Live Stream: The game can be live streamed here.
TV Coverage: Big Ten Network
2013 was only the sixth time in program history that the Gophers won eight games and went to a bowl game.
The Gophers lost 21-17 to Syracuse in the Texas Bowl last season.
Minnesota is 11-3-1 in season openers when it played in a bowl game the previous year.
The Gophers are 3-2 in home openers at TCF Bank Stadium and have won their last two.
The team returns sophomore quarterback Mitch Leidner. Last season, Leidner tossed for 619 yards in 10 games, and added 407 yards on the ground.
Two Minnesota players were chosen in the 2014 NFL draft: defensive lineman Ra'Shede Hageman and safety Brock Vereen. The two were the Gophers' first draft picks since 2010.
Head coach Jerry Kill is entering his fourth season with the team. He has a 17-18 overall record at Minnesota.
Minnesota has reached bowl games in back-to-back years.
Minnesota scored 334 points last year, the most points the team has scored since 2006.
The Gophers have never faced Eastern Illinois.
- Jack Jorgensen