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Minnesota Gophers: Gophers Looking for First Big Ten Win at Northwestern - OPEN THREAD

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Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

TV: ESPN2
Game Time: 11:00 AM
Radio: 100.3 FM, 1130 AM

Two Big Ten teams sitting at 0-2 in the conference and looking for an opportunity to get their season back on track.

The Stats

Minnesota Golden Gophers Northwestern Wildcats
Points / Game 31.2 33.5
Pass Yards 116.8 245.8
Rush Yards 215.8 189.3
3rd Down % 45.3% 41.6%
Key Offensive Player to Watch Mitch Liedner
Trevor Siemian
Points Allowed/Game 24.2 28.3
Pass Yards 255.5 279.0
Rush Yards 128.3 168.3
3rd Down % 42.9% 46.3%
Key Defensive Player to Watch Brock Vereen Damien Proby

3 Keys

Maroon_key_medium Don't turn the ball over - Northwestern has made a living this year off of turnovers. You may notice above that they have given up a lot of yards and points this season. But their defense has been opportunistic and have given their offense a lot of possessions. They lead the Big Ten with a +7 turnover ratio. If the Gophers want to have a shot today, they need to no add to that number, we cannot afford to give away possessions.

Maroon_key_medium
Pound the rock -
Mitch Leidner is a power runner and if this offense has an identity it is a power-rushing team. The Northwestern defense has been susceptible to power running teams and today they are without starting defensive tackle, Sean McEvilly. Run the ball, run the ball and convert third downs. This offense doesn't have to get cute, just try to control the line of scrimmage and run the ball.

Maroon_key_medium Limit the big plays - A big Venric Mark run early in the game last year, after a Gopher fumble on the opening kickoff put the Gophers in a big, early hole. Mark is questionable for today as is Kain Colter, another big-play threat for the Wildcats. But make this offense march down the field and don't give them any big plays.

The Gophers need to get off to a good start and just play their game. Run the ball, pound Northwestern.