MINNEAPOLIS - Minnesota had plenty of legitimate opportunities to beat Michigan last week.
The bad news for the Gophers was that they still lost by 22 points.
They're buoyed by their clear improvement over last season, when they fell 58-0 to the Wolverines. But they're frustrated by a lingering inability to put together the kind of performance required to beat the traditional big boys of the conference.
A trip to Illinois is on tap for this Saturday, and the Gophers (5-4, 1-4 Big Ten) can become eligible for a bowl game with a win. They'll probably have to do it without leading receiver A.J. Barker, who missed the Michigan game with a sprained right ankle. Coach Jerry Kill says Barker won't play against the Illini "unless some miracle takes place."
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