Game Time: 2:42
Radio: 100.3 FM, 1130 AM
|Points / Game||17.4||34.3|
|3rd Down %||34.1%||44.4%|
|Key Offensive Player to Watch||MarQueis Gray ||RB-Marcus Coker|
|Points Allowed/Game||35.9 ||23.3|
|3rd Down %||48.4%||50.9%|
|Key Defensive Player to Watch||nobody||DE-Broderick Binns|
Three Gopher Questions
Can Minnesota move the ball and score on this Iowa defense? - Statistically Iowa's defense isn't all that strong. They give up more passing yards than even the Gopher D and they allow opponents to convert over 50% of third down conversions (also worse than Minnesota). And it isn't like they have been playing Michigan, Nebraska and Wisconsin who lead the Big Ten offensively. No, they have played Indiana, Penn State and Northwestern.
Can MarQueis Gray lead us to a rivalry win? - Q wasn't the only reason the Gophers beat Iowa last year, but he was a key catalyst rushing for game's first touchdown and converting two key third downs in the fourth quarter. He is going to have to do more today but if we win I think it will be on his back.
Does the team truly believe that they can win? - Most teams have a false confidence that they can win every game, but sometimes they truly believe it from the opening kick-off. Winning last year's game certainly helps with the confidence factor but have they been beaten down so much this year that their confidence is too shaky to actually win this game?
- BONUS Can the defense hold a Big Ten opponent to under 40 points? - consult your magic eight ball on that one.
1 - It really doesn't matter how bad Iowa's defense has been against other Big Ten teams, Minnesota's offense is bad and all that matters is can WE move the ball on Iowa? I'm not terribly hopeful. Being at home for the second week in a row is helpful and if we can get Gray comfortable early then maybe we'll be able to generate some offense. But they have given up over 400 yards of offense per game and as mentioned they haven't even played any good offenses yet. Maybe this team is vulnerable. Vulnerable enough? Probably not enough but we'll see how it plays out.
2 - Yes I think he can, I'm just not sure if he will or not. The kid is our offense. If we have a big play, he is almost certainly a part of it. Gray has struggled to get into a rhythm in the first half of games so he'll need to get going early and play with confidence for four quarters. Can he do it? Yes he can!
3 - Confidence must be gained early in this one. The offense needs to score quickly and more importantly the defense needs an early stop. If this can happen confidence can grow and this may be a game. The defense has played better lately but has had a number of early penalties or weird plays preventing them from forcing a punt. An early stop will be huge.
I'm not overly confident that we are going to win, but I'm looking forward to the most competitive game we have seen in several weeks.