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Northwestern Opponent Links: Week 8, Minnesota

This week, Northwestern opens up play within the Legends Division of the Big Ten when Minnesota comes to Evanston. Both teams lost their first two conference games after starting the season with four straight wins. Here are a few relevant stories regarding Minnesota football:

- Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill is currently taking a leave of absence after suffering seizures in relation to complications with epilepsy. The New York Times' Greg Bishop profiled Kill, detailing how the coach's health complications impact his coaching.

- Currently, defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys is Minnesota's interim head coach. He admits that he isn't particularly happy that he is forced into the interim role by Kill's absence because, as he says, Minnesota is still Kill's program and it will continue to be Kill's program.

- Claeys announced Tuesday that redshirt freshman Mitch Leidner will start against Northwestern. The dual-threat quarterback will make his second straight start and third of his career.

- After struggling to generate any semblance of a running game against Iowa and Michigan, Minnesota is looking to get back on track against Northwestern. After watching tape of Northwestern's loss at Wisconsin, Minnesota's offense hopes to capitalize on Northwestern's struggle to stop a downhill running game.

- Being at about the half way mark of the college football season, ESPN.com's Chantel Jennings wrote a midseason report on the Golden Gophers.