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Minnesota vs. Ohio Bobcats: Preview for Homecoming

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The end of the non-conference is here!

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Opening Thoughts

It's Homecoming! Yes, already. Yes, against a MAC school. No, the fact that Homecoming is against a MAC school is not Mitch Leidner's fault. Move along.

Gnome #TAKES

Ohio is getting salty. They are getting confident. They are getting beat. The gnomes are confident of this because they believe in Minnesota's defense and yes, it's offense (at least enough to get a win at home over Ohio). But the gnomes don't blame Ohio for feeling good, as there are many valid weaknesses to exploit against Minnesota's offense. So rather than mock Ohio, the Gnomes are going to celebrate the majestic bobcat by featuring the bobcats who have been rescued by a fine organization in FL called Big Cat Rescue:

A cat video from YouTube? The Gnomes know how to internet properly.

When/Where

Date: 9/26/15

Kickoff Time: 2:30 PM CST

Where: TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN

Watch/Listen

TV: Big Ten Network

Streaming Video: BTN2Go.com

Radio: KFAN (100.3 in the Twin Cities) and the Gopher Radio Network (Radio Affiliates).

Streaming Audio: Locate KFAN on IHeartRadio.com (or the IHeartRadio app for your mobile device)

Satellite Radio: SiriusXM 196; Sirius 135; XM 196

Odds

Spread: Minnesota by 10 to 10.5 depending on the site.

Over/Under: 47 to 47.5, depending on the site

Weather Forecast

Once again, I'm jealous of everyone who gets to watch the Gophers plan in perfect fall weather.

ohio weather

The Enemy

Where Are They From? Athens, OH. It's a gorgeous campus.

They also like to fight with Madison, WI over who has the best Halloween celebration. I think that fight is over though, with Madison throwing in the towel due to the repeated riots put on by their drunken students.

All Time Series: Minnesota is 7-1 all time against Ohio, with the one loss being the Mason debacle from 2000 that we won't get into right now.

Last Season: 6-6 (4-4 MAC). I think Ohio's 2014 season was succinctly summarized by gopherguy05 in his preseason preview of the Bobcats:

They did not do anything very well, but didn't do anything really poorly either.

2015 To Date: 3-0 with wins at Idaho a team that is so bad someone is papering their campus with fliers to fire the head coach, at home against Marshall, and at home against a directional Louisiana soup can. That Marshall win looks pretty good though.

Head Coach: Frank Solich (11th season: 75-56, 48-32 MAC). You might remember Frank, as he was the guy Nebraska fired for doing what they paid Bo Pelini many many dollars to do (win 9 games a season). He's a solid head coach and will (likely) finish his career at Ohio with one of the best coaching records in their history.

Players To Watch:

1) Derrius Vick (QB - RS Senior): Lets face it, based on previous experiences this season if Ohio wants to win they're going to have to score. And that means Ohio's experienced quarterback is going to need to get it done. The good news for Ohio fans is that Vick is having a really efficient season. While he's not throwing a ton (only 48 attempts in 3 games), he's completing over 70% of his passes and is going for over 11 yards per attempt. Minnesota's defense is going to need to pressure him and force him to make mistakes or it could spell doom for the Gophers.

2) Quentin Poling (LB, RS Soph): Dude has 20 solo tackles and 25 total, both of which lead the team. He's also had 2 sacks and forced 2 fumbles. Thankfully, Minnesota's offensive line is sure to run over him all day. You heard me. It's going to happen.

3) Nathan Carpenter (Safety, RS Senior): Hustle Belt has been very impressed with how Carpenter has come on strong as this young season has progressed. He's been the Bobcats primary interception threat, is defending passes, and is picking up fumbles. Rashad and Mitch, please take note.

Keys To The Game

- No turnovers: Minnesota's offense needs to make sure they only help Minnesota's offense put points up on the board. Incompletions are better than INTs and NO MORE FUMBLES RETURNED FOR TOUCHDOWNS. Ball security is important guys.

- Offense, just a little bit of offense: Let's give the homecoming crowd something to cheer, yes? Oh, and it will be important to winning.

- No defensive lapses: If the offense continues to struggle (which feels likely) then the defense can't afford to give up chances through coverage errors, missed assignments, bad pursuit angles, or blown tackles. Show the world why you're a great defense for 60 full minutes. Not "every minute but that one drive to start the game."

How Afraid Am I?

For those who don't know, this is a bit where I rank my fear by saying how many Tim Brewsters I am afraid of the opponent. The more Tim Brewsters I list, the more afraid I am...because the memory of Timmy Brew is scary for all Gophers fans. Typically this is done on a scale of 1 to 5 "Brewsters on his face" in the Metrodome. In order to help out the offense, I'm bringing Brew back to the Dome. Couldn't hurt, right?

Brew 2.5 Dome

I'm 2.5 Brewsters afraid of Ohio.

Why isn't this worse? Simple. I trust our defense.

Completely Worthless Prediction

The defense is stout, the offense gets it going a little, and the Gophers move to 3-1.

Minnesota 13 - Ohio 3

Make Your Own Predictions!