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Running Game Critical As Minnesota Travels To Colorado

The Minnesota Golden Gophers and Colorado Buffaloes have something in common entering Saturday’s meeting in Boulder.

Both teams are 1-1 and the one loss came to a top-5 opponent in which they had a chance to pull off the upset.

Minnesota (1-1, 0-1 Big Ten) bounced back after giving then-#3 Ohio State a scare in the first week of action, holding off Miami (OH) 31-26 at home last week. The Gophers leaned on running back Trey Potts, who rushed 34 times for 178 yards and two scores in the win.

Coach P.J. Fleck wants to ease the burden on Potts. It will take some time.

“There’ll be some more guys into the mix as we keep going forward, but it’s just consistency on a daily basis and being the best version of yourself,” Fleck said.

Potts may need some help simply because of the altitude in Boulder. Fleck said the team won’t arrive early to adjust not knowing if one additional day would benefit the team.

“We’re going to be there shortest amount of time as possible,” he said. “With your body, the longer you’re there, the more it’s going to affect you.”

The Buffaloes (1-1) came within 2:41 of beating a top-5 team for the first time in 14 years. Texas A&M squeaked out a 10-7 with a late TD, denying Colorado a potential chance to break into the Top 25.

To beat Minnesota, the Buffaloes must contain Potts.

Colorado held Texas A&M to 97 yards on the ground while rushing for 171.

The Buffaloes’ running game has taken pressure off freshman quarterback Brendon Lewis, who threw for just 89 yards last week. In the first two starts of his career he is averaging 95.5 yards passing but he has shown the ability to run, averaging 60 yards on the ground.

Colorado is relatively healthy going into Saturday’s matchup, with top back Jarek Broussard feeling fine. The Buffaloes did announce that wide receiver La’Vontae Shenault has been suspended indefinitely for violation of team rules.

Head coach Karl Dorrell said Tuesday that the door is still open for Shenault to return.

“I believe in rehabilitation but he has some things to do first,” Dorrell said.

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