Thursday night marked the opening night for college football in the Big Ten.
Many may have overlooked the contest, as Minnesota faced an FCS school in South Dakota State. However, to open the season, South Dakota State ranked No. 3 among all FCS teams for a reason. The Jackrabbits are a good football team.
The game itself had a slower start as it was tied at zero going into the second quarter. Minnesota ended up leading 20-7, but trailed 21-20 entering the fourth quarter. The Golden Gophers ended up winning the contest 28-21 — a score that was closer than the experts thought.
After the game, Gophers coach P.J. Fleck spoke with the media. He touched on numerous topics of course, but one was about the team’s home crowd:
"They brought the energy and the juice in those final minutes." Coach Fleck, on the 49,112 #Gophers that packed TCF Bank Stadium tonight.
— Minnesota Football (@GopherFootball) August 30, 2019
Was it the crowd that helped the Gophers overcome the upset-believing Jackrabbits? Maybe. Part of what helped Minnesota win were a number of unforced turnovers.
The Gophers having nearly 50,000 fans for their season-opener certainly didn’t hurt.