TV: ABC / ESPN2
Game Time: 2:30 PM
Radio: 100.3 FM, 1130 AM
The Little Brown Jug is up for grabs, the rivalry trophy that began the concept of the rivalry trophy. You want it back you're gonna have to win it back.
|Minnesota Golden Gophers||Michigan Wolverines|
|Points / Game||34.8||38.0|
|3rd Down %||43.3%||48.1%
|Key Offensive Player to Watch||
|3rd Down %||36.6%||37.9%|
|Key Defensive Player to Watch||Desmond Morgan|
Get out to a quick start - Michigan has struggled in their last 2 games against some weaker competition. If the Gophers can get out to a quick start, have a strong 1st quarter, Michigan will start to wonder if maybe they really are going to be on the verge of being upset. Allowing Michigan to jump on us will ensure that this game is over before the 2nd quarter begins, the Gophers must play well early. Typically we start slow but play better in the 2nd half, that cannot be the case today.
Win the big play battle - I know this is uncharacteristic of the Gopher offense but they need to have more big plays than the Michigan offense has on our defense. By "big plays" I mean offensive plays that go for quick scores or really big yardage. Turnovers and big special teams plays are important as well but I think the Gopher offense needs to have more big plays than the Michigan offense. A nil-nil tie in this department would be just fine but assuming there will be a few big plays in this game, the Gophers need to have more than the Wolverines. One or two big pass plays are possible for the Gopher offense. Michigan's offense is actually built to put up some big plays, the Gopher defense needs to be sound and not allow it.
Turnovers are going to be HUGE - This is another key that involves big plays but this is more about not making mistakes. No bad interceptions, no succumbing to the pressure of The Big House. Let Michigan play sloppy and give us a couple extra possessions. Gardner has 8 interceptions in four games, I'd love to see that total go up a little (or a lot).
I really don't believe that the Gophers are as bad as they showed last week. That was a mistake filled game where we were pushed around. But I also do not believe that we are as good as Michigan. The Gophers need to play together and they need to execute.