Pregame: Gophers seek first win of 2021 against Miami (Ohio)

The University of Minnesota football team seeks its first win of the 2021 season on Saturday against Miami (Ohio).

The University of Minnesota football team is looking for its first win of the 2021 season on Saturday, hosting Miami (Ohio) at 11 a.m. at Huntington Bank Stadium.

The Gophers open the non-conference season without star running back Mo Ibrahim, who suffered a season-ending left leg injury in last week’s 45-31 loss to Ohio State. Ibrahim had season-ending surgery earlier this week. Without their top running back, the Gophers likely turn to a combination of Trey Potts, Cam Wiley and Bryce Williams. Freshmen Ky Thomas and Mar’Keise "Bucky" Irving could even see a few carries.

We’ll also find out if Chris Autman-Bell is able to make his 2021 debut. Minnesota’s top receiver went through pregame warm-ups against the Buckeyes and was a game-time decision, but didn’t play due to a leg injury. Autman-Bell practiced this week, so it’s possible he sees the field Saturday. Without him, Dylan Wright had five catches for 56 yards and a touchdown last week. Daniel Jackson also had three catches, and Brevyn Spann-Ford made two catches.

Minnesota’s defense looks to tighten up explosive plays against the Redhawks. In last week’s loss, Ohio State’s five offensive touchdowns went for at least 38 yards. Two went for 70-plus yards. Safety Jordan Howden is likely to return after suffering an injury against Ohio State.

The Gophers are also honoring the 20-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. There will be pregame dedications, and the team is wearing pins to honor the lives lost 20 years ago Saturday.