Minnesota beat Buffalo, 17-7, Thursday night in the Big Ten’s first game of 2017, giving P.J. Fleck his first win as the Gophers’ head coach. It’s the first time a Minnesota head coach has won his debut since 1986.
Below, find live updates and a running diary from the game.
Minnesota vs. Buffalo live updates, score
Check back here for a quarter-by-quarter analysis of how the action unfolds.
This one’s over. P.J. Fleck is 1-0 at Minnesota.
A field goal makes it 17-7.
It’s the fourth quarter and it’s still 14-7.
The third quarter is underway.
0:43: Shannon Brooks plunges in from less than a yard out to give Minnesota a 14-7 lead.
4:37: Buffalo evens it up with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Tyree Jackson to Anthony Johnson.
Q1, 9:43: Minnesota’s on the board first with a 61-yard touchdown pass from Conor Rhoda to Tyler Johnson.
Here's the first Big Ten TD of the season! pic.twitter.com/66EcnitZ1u
— Land Of 10 (@landof10) August 31, 2017
Minnesota vs. Buffalo game time, details
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Date: Thursday, Aug. 31
Location: Minneapolis, Minn.
Weather: Sunny skies with temperature in the mid-70s.
The line: Minnesota -24.5
What TV channel is showing Minnesota-Buffalo?
It will be televised by the Big Ten Network.
How can I watch Minnesota-Buffalo online?
The game can be watched online at BTN2Go.
How can I listen to the Minnesota-Buffalo game on the radio?
Gophers fans can listen to the game at 107.9 KOOL 108.
Minnesota vs. Buffalo preview
The Gophers went 9-4 in 2016, beating Washington State 17-12 in the Holiday Bowl. Now P.J. Fleck comes to Minneapolis after leading Western Michigan to an unbeaten regular season and the Cotton Bowl.
Minnesota fired former coach Tracy Claeys after players were suspended for their alleged roles in a sexual assault and players boycotted the Holiday Bowl (later stopped the boycott).
Going into 2017, Minnesota will have a new starting quarterback after Mitch Leidner (2,169 passing yards, 8 TDs, 12 INTs; 10 rushing TDs) graduated. Fleck said both Demry Croft and Conor Rhoda will play against Buffalo.
The Gophers were led on the ground by the 1-2 tandem of Rodney Smith (1,158 yards, 16 TDs) and Shannon Brooks (650 yards, 5 TDs). Smith also averaged 32.9 yards on eight kick returns, scoring one touchdown.
On defense, Minnesota will likely rely on the linebackers, including Jonathan Celestin and Cody Poock. The Gophers also allowed only 118 rushing yards per game last season, but will have three new starters on the defensive line.
The Gophers are trying to make a bowl game for the sixth consecutive year.
As for Buffalo, the Bulls went only 2-10 a season ago, beating Army and Akron. Lance Leipold is 7-17 in his two seasons leading Buffalo. Though Buffalo lost 1,000-yard rusher Jordan Johnson, sophomore Tyree Jackson is back. In his redshirt freshman season, the 6-foot-7 Jackson passed for 1,772 yards, 9 TDs and 9 INTs. He also rushed for 399 yards and 5 scores.
Defensively, two 100-plus tacklers return in Khalil Hodge and Ishmael Hargrove.
The Bulls haven’t played in a bowl game since the 2013 season, when they played San Diego State in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.