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Minnesota Game Week: The Wacker Bowl

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TCU and the Minnesota Golden Gophers meet for only the second time ever.

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota, a state dominated by frigid temperatures and obnoxious amounts of snow, where people are forced to stay indoors for self-preservation purposes. It's a wonder the Gophers didn't want to schedule this game for later in the season, so they could retreat to Texas to thaw out for a little while.

Clearly the Frogs will work to be a real life, much more effective version of Carl Spackler, and will go scorched earth on the Gophers. Right?

Minnesota is 2-0 on the season with less-than-convincing wins over Eastern Illinois (42-20) and Middle Tennessee State (35-42). Their offense seems pretty one-sided, relying heavily on senior running back David Cobb to shoulder the load. He's been successful to this point, rushing for 291 yards (6.8 yards per carry) and two touchdowns in two games this season. The TCU defensive front will have to focus on containing him if they want to stop the Gopher offense.

Passing the ball is a different story for Minnesota, as quarterback Mitch Leidner has been inconsistent at best early on. He's completed only 50% of his 28 pass attempts this season for 211 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Lediner has also run for two touchdowns this year, but his mobility could be hampered by a sprained MCL suffered in the win over Middle Tennessee.

All in all, the Frogs' defense should be well prepared to stifle Cobb, and Leidner hasn't seen a secondary as good as TCU's in his time as a Gopher.

Defensively, Minnesota doesn't seem very good. In two games against sub-par competition, they've allowed 854 total yards of offense and 44 points. They have forced six turnovers however, which is why the points total isn't higher.

It probably doesn't help Minnesota's cause that they've been bitten hard by the injury bug this season. Beyond Leidner's MCL, they've had five players suffer season ending ACL tears, including starters DT Scott Ekpe and linebacker Cody Poock, and reserves OL Jared Wayler, LB Nick Rallis and TE Duke Anyanwu.

Here's more on the matchup from GoFrogs.com:

ABOUT THE GAME
*Following the first of its two September open dates, TCU returns to action Saturday when it hosts Minnesota in a 3 p.m. game at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
*TCU and Minnesota have met just once before on the gridiron, a 9-7 Golden Gophers' victory in Minneapolis on Sept. 28, 1974.
*The Horned Frogs and Golden Gophers will meet again next season (Sept. 3) in Minneapolis.
*TCU has won eight of its last nine regular-season games following an open date.
*The Horned Frogs are looking to open with a 2-0 record for the eighth time in the last 12 seasons.
*TCU is 62-14 under head coach Gary Patterson at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
*TCU is playing its third season in Amon G. Carter Stadium after its $164 million rebuild.

PATTERSON VERSUS THE BIG TEN
*With Gary Patterson as head coach, TCU is 3-1 versus Big Ten opponents.
*TCU's last two contests versus Big Ten teams came in bowl games.
*The Horned Frogs dropped a 17-16 decision to Michigan State in the 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl after defeating Wisconsin, 21-19, in the 2011 Rose Bowl.
*TCU's last regular-season meeting with a Big Ten team was a 48-45 double-overtime victory over Northwestern in the 2004 season opener in Fort Worth. The Horned Frogs also defeated the Wildcats, 48-24, in Evanston, Ill., in 2002.

FRIENDS
*TCU head coach Gary Patterson (Rozel) and Minnesota's Jerry Kill (Cheney) have a special bond, besides both being Kansas natives.
*When Patterson married his wife Kelsey, Kill was part of the wedding party.

JIM WACKER TIES
*Both TCU and Minnesota were coached by Jim Wacker.
*Wacker was the Horned Frogs' head coach from 1983-91, before leaving Fort Worth to take the reins of the Golden Gophers (1992-96).
*The 2014 campaign marks the 30th anniversary of Wacker's most-successul TCU team, as his 1984 "Unbeleevable" squad went 8-4 in reaching the Bluebonnet Bowl.

REMEMBER ME?
*While at Texas Tech in 2012, TCU co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Sonny Cumbie stepped into a play-calling role as interim OC when the Red Raiders totaled 429 yards in a 34-31 win over Minnesota in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

TRUE STUDENT-ATHLETES
*Safety Sam Carter and defensive tackle Chucky Hunter represent TCU on the Preseason All-Big 12 Team. They also set the pace in the classroom.
*Carter is playing this season as a graduate student, having earned his TCU degree in May. He majored in sociology with a minor in business.
*Hunter, a criminal justice major, is scheduled to graduate in December in just 3 1/2 years.

TCU NOTABLES
*TCU's new offense, under co-coordinators Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie, totaled 33 first downs and 555 yards in the Aug. 30 season-opening 48-14 victory over Samford.
*The Horned Frogs' 96 plays from scrimmage against Samford marked its most in a game since a school record 111 versus San Diego State in 2007.
*Trevone Boykin, the only player in the nation last season with a 100-yard rushing game, 100-yard receiving game and 200-yard passing game, earned Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honors against Samford. Boykin totaled 349 yards of offense (320 passing, 29 rushing) and three touchdowns. He was 29-of-41 in the air for two scores.
*The Horned Frogs, who return nine starters on defense from last year's team, held Samford to just 143 yards of offense in the season opener.
*Defensive end Mike Tuaua had seven tackles, including 3 1/2 for loss, with two sacks and two forced fumbles against Samford.