October 17, 2015
|11:00 AM Central
|TCF Bank Stadium
|KFAN 100.3 FM
Gophers Radio Network
|Know Thy Foe:
|50 degrees sunny, sight breeze, warming as we go
|Minnesota -2 (after opening Nebraska -2)
3 Keys, 2 Players to Watch, 1 Prediction
Stick to the Identity - A Gopher ground game was re-established last week at Purdue in a big way and now is not the time to change things. Mitch Leidner is fine under center but he isn't going to win games by throwing 35 times a game, even if Nebraska's pass defense is awful. Figure out ways to run the ball effectively, be patient and from time to time hit them with a big play through the air.
Third Down - On both sides of the ball we have not been particularly strong on third down. It isn't like we rank at or near the bottom of the Big Ten in third down but it has been pretty rough, and I think defensively the numbers are bolstered by how we finished the Purdue game. I feel as though the defense has been pretty good at putting teams in longer third down situations but fails to get off far too often. And offensively...stay in manageable situations and power through.
Need the Defense (again) - So Nebraska's offense ranks first in the Big Ten in yardage, third in points and they rank third in S&P+. This offense moves the ball and scores points, even if we assume their defense is terrible, we cannot get into a shootout.
I should add a fourth key which is play till the end cause Nebraska will probably find a way to lose if we let them.
OPPOSING PLAYERS TO WATCH
- #4 - QB - Tommy Armstrong Jr. - second in the conference in passing yards per game and he can also beat you with his legs.
- #49 - LB - Chris Weber - man was he good back when he was with Michigan. Now he leads the Huskers in tackles and has 5 tackles for loss.
- #12th man - Special Teams - Last Play of the Game - Gophers win on last play of the game, because that's what Nebraska does
I really wish that we were not favored in this game, not like it really matters but I just do. Last year I was oddly confident in this game (and was right), this year I am not. For the Gophers to win I hope to see us control the clock and pound the ball with long drives that are capped by a play-action pass over the top. I am very excited to watch Eric Murray match-up with Jordan Westerkamp, or Jalen Myrick cause he has been pretty damn good as well.
Ultimately I'm not all that confident but being at home, getting Damarius Travis back and having a rivalry trophy to play for all are going to result in a Gopher win. Gopher ground game stays hot, racks up yards and we win. Not on the last play of the game but it will be close.
Minnesota - 24
Nebraska - 20