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Minnesota vs. Northwestern Football: Opponent News, Notes, and Links October 3, 2015

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Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

So our music selection today fits nicely with my early-week #DKNarrative that the Northwestern Wildcats don't deserve their number whatever ranking in the AP or Coaches poll. GoAupher talked me off the ledge a bit, and then I discovered a Bradley-Terry Rankings system showing the Wildcats might be legit, so I've accepted that AP rankings are nothing to get excited about.

That's not going to stop me from executing the #DKNarrative as planned.  This song seems especially apropos because Northwestern will be wearing their Under Armour Gothic uniforms.  While I approve of anything Batman themed (YOU CAN'T TELL ME THEY'RE NOT BATMAN THEMED - Gothicam), these are a bit silly.

You can reasonably expect to hear this song again during jug week.

If you're looking for an alternative to ironic ska-rock, I have one for you.

Pound The Talk: Northwestern-Minnesota preview - Inside NU

Are the Gophers really any good, even when healthy?

You'll have to listen to their answer here.  Here's the Soundcloud for their discussion.

Ok, I'll throw you a bone.  At 17:45 to 18:07, here's a gem: "There's no doubt that Northwestern is just going to run the ball down Minnesota's throat."

The Daily Northwestern : Football: Solomon Vault keeps the Wildcats’ backfield in balance

"We expected him to play a bigger role than he did last year, but he had some hamstring injuries that kept him out of the lineup," said running backs coach Matt MacPherson. "Now that he’s healthy, we’ve been able to do a lot of the things we want to do with him, which has been getting him touches on kick returns, using him as a receiver, and using him as a running back."

Northwestern vs. Minnesota: Three matchups to watch - Inside NU

1. Northwestern's offensive line vs. Minnesota's front seven In this game, it all starts up front, where a banged-up Wildcats group faces an underperforming Golden Gophers unit. Additionally, Northwestern will have to be able to run the ball against the Golden Gophers, who will likely load the box and force Clayton Thorson to beat them through the air, something that he is yet to show the ability to do.

I don't think I've seen the Gophers really stack the box against any team.  Will that changed this week? And would we call the front seven under-performing?  I guess in terms of sacks, maybe.

The Daily Northwestern : Point/Counterpoint: Will Thorson cost the Wildcats in the Big Ten?

This looks familiar.

Quarterback play won’t sink Northwestern in the Big Ten — it’s exactly the thing that will turn potential conference losses into conference wins. Yes, the numbers for Thorson aren’t great right now. Statistically, he’s arguably the worst pass thrower in the Big Ten West, having completed just 53 percent of his passes for 583 yards and four touchdowns to go along with three interceptions. Add in his two fumbles against Ball State, and it doesn’t seem like he’s helping very much. But Thorson excels as a runner.

Beware, Northwestern fans.  Minnesota fans have been down this road, and it eventually ends in a fandom dividing debate!

Inside the Play: Northwestern exposes Ball State with play action - Inside NU

After watching the video, I feel much better about the Gophers' defense in this game. I don't see our secondary allowing a 66 yard TD to a full back lined up as a tight end who runs straight down the middle of the field. Maybe I'll eat my words on this tomorrow, but woof, Ball State's defense looks horrible in these plays.

Minnesota-Northwestern: To which team would a win mean more? - College Football Nation Blog - ESPN

I believe in the Gophers because of a stifling defense that has yet to hit its stride. Minnesota allows 4.96 yards per play in the first quarter of four games this year, ranking 57th nationally. In the fourth quarter, that figure drops to 3.87, 21st nationally.

Kind of runs counter to the "under-performing front seven" discussion.

Minnesota-Northwestern Preview | FOX Sports

This article is written the AP's favorite bullet-point/factoid one sentence per paragraph style, which is why it appears last!