Minnesota Bateman Football

Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman.

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Ratings power

7 stars. Fleck is polarizing, but he runs a fun scheme on offense, and he's proved successful. Bateman alone is appointment viewing, but this is a team worth tuning in for.

Sneak peek

Minnesota flat-out embarrassed Nebraska last season with a 34-7 win in Minneapolis. One would think revenge is on the Huskers' minds, especially considering how thoroughly the Gophers manhandled them. Minnesota led 14-0 at halftime, then hammered out 20 third-quarter points before the visitors got on the scoreboard. Entering this season, it doesn't seem like P.J. Fleck's crew is getting the respect it deserves following last season's 11-2 finish, punctuated by a 31-24 win against Auburn in the Outback Bowl.

It should be noted that Minnesota did lose six starters on defense, including five of its top six tacklers. But eight starters return from an excellent offense. 

Plot twist

Minnesota finished last season ranked No. 10 in the final Associated Press Top 25. Many pundits believe it could be a springboard for the program being a perennial contender in the Big Ten West. Yes, Minnesota is rising. Just what Nebraska needs, right? The Gophers' offense once again may be too much for the Huskers to overcome. 

The main cast

WR Rashod Bateman. Another star receiver who opted out then came back, Bateman is probably the best pass-catcher in the league. A special talent who averaged 20.3 yards per catch last year, and will be a favorite for the Biletnikoff Award

QB Tanner Morgan. Probably doesn't get the credit he deserves after a season in which he set Minnesota records for passing yards, passing touchdowns and completion percentage. Yes, he has outstanding targets, but someone has to get them the ball.

RB Mohamed Ibrahim. Led Minnesota in rushing in 2018 before ceding that title to Rodney Smith last season. More than capable of handling the lead role.

Schedule

O24, Michigan; O30, at Maryland; N7, at Illinois; N13, Iowa; N20, Purdue; N28, at Wisconsin; D5, Northwestern; D12, at Nebraska.

Reach Clark Grell at 402-473-2639 or cgrell@journalstar.com. On Twitter at @LJSSportsGrell.

This article originally ran on journalstar.com.

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