New date for Gophers football opener

MINNEAPOLIS — The University of Minnesota’s first football game of the 2012 season against UNLV has been changed to Aug. 30, the school announced Thursday.

The Gophers and Rebels were originally scheduled to play on Saturday, Sept. 1 in Las Vegas, but the change was made to move the game at Sam Boyd Stadium up by two days after Minnesota received a request by UNLV and the Mountain West Conference to reschedule, said senior associate athletics director Marc Ryan.

“We understand that changing dates may impact fans that have already made arrangements to travel to Las Vegas for the game,” Ryan said in a statement. “We hope that by announcing this change as early as possible, issues fans may encounter in altering travel plans can be minimized.”

Kickoff time for Minnesota’s season opener has still not been set. It will be the first-ever football game between the Gophers and Rebels.

Minnesota finished the 2011 season with a 3-9 record under first-year head coach Jerry Kill. The Gophers ended their season with a 27-7 victory over Illinois at TCF Bank Stadium to finish 2-6 in the Big Ten. UNLV was just 2-10 last year and 1-6 in the Mountain West Conference. The Rebels have not had a winning season since 2000, when they went 8-5. They’ve had six two-win seasons since 2004.

The Gophers’ other non-conference opponents in 2012 include New Hampshire, Western Michigan and Syracuse. Minnesota and UNLV will face each other again in 2013 when the Gophers host the Rebels at TCF Bank Stadium. That game is scheduled for Aug. 31, 2013.

Follow Tyler Mason on Twitter.