MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Gopher football team is finding out about itself with a back-loaded schedule that takes them to Nebraska this week.

They’re still hopeful of a spot in the Big Ten championship game, but more concerned about the task at hand.

It is the most difficult stretch of the season, and Coach Jerry Kill is hoping his team doesn’t play so hard that it can’t keep playing.

“When you play hard and you play those people back to back to back to back, I mean it takes a toll on you,” Kill said. “So you got to be careful at practice, you know. You got to shorten some things up.”

Is there a blue print left behind from the Badgers? They destroyed Nebraska with a record 408 yards from Melvin Gordon.

And the Gophers have their own feature back — David Cobb.

“He’s a pretty special player, so it’s nice to be able to … turn around and hand a ball to him,” said Offensive Line Coordinator Matt Limegrover. “But up front, it’s a group that’s really come together.”

But the confidence the Gophers draw on isn’t so much about what happened in Nebraska last week and Wisconsin, as it is what they did to Nebraska last year at the University of Minnesota.

That was, at the time, the biggest win of Jerry Kill’s coaching career at Minnesota, when the program may have changed for he and his staff. And that is a motivating force heading to Lincoln.

“When we went out there and beat Nebraska when no one thought we were going to was a great feeling,” said tight end Maxx Williams. “So now we go into this year kind of with a chip on our shoulder, knowing that they’re going to have a chip on their shoulder, and hopefully it’s a fun game to watch.”

The Gophers face off against Nebraska at 11 a.m. Saturday at Tom Osbourne Field at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb.