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South Dakota 41, Minnesota 38. Way back in 2007, Tim Brewster's first year as Minnesota head coach, the Gophers were gashed for 394 yards rushing by token I-AA/FCS patsy North Dakota State in a 27-21 loss in the Metrodome. Not surprisingly, those Gophers went on to give up more yards over the course of the season than all but one other defense over the last decade.

If any Gopher fans were counting today's effort against token I-AA/FCS patsy South Dakota as a sign of progress, well, it was, in a sense: Minnesota was gashed for 351 yards passing and three touchdowns by Coyote quarterback Dante Warren, who also sliced up the UM defense for 83 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. South Dakota never trailed after the first quarter and led by as much as 28-10 in the third.

Brewster avoided this spiel last week, thanks to a late surge that saved the Gophers from the embarrassment of losing to Middle Tennessee State, playing without its star quarterback, Dwight Dasher. But there's no hiding from the reality: Brewster has now lost twice to lower-division opponents in four years, with nothing resembling a big win – he's 0-6 against rivals Iowa and Wisconsin, and 0-2 in back-to-back Insight Bowl losses to Kansas and Iowa State – to offset them. Last year's offense finished at the bottom of the Big Ten in yards and points; through the first two games this year, the defense is well on its way to the same depths. If the Gophers had any chance of defying the dire summer projections, South Dakota has to be the gimme it was scheduled. Next week, USC comes to Minneapolis, and the locals begin warming up the guillotine.

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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.

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