Yeah, so it’s not really Wednesday. The interface between the actual calendar and my internal calendar is fleeting and mostly imaginary.
Minnesota is 7-2 which is either an unmitigated disaster or about what was expected, depending on your perspective. The Golden Gophers take that record to Lincoln this Saturday. Kickoff against Nebraska is scheduled for 6:30 PM CST on BTN (Michael Rand, Star Tribune).
Note: Our own dvits14 shows up in the article! Don’t read the comments. At all.
THE CHAIR IS ON THE LINE! Nebraska and Minnesota will battle for the $5 Bits of Broken Chair Trophy, also known as the coolest trophy in college football (Sean Keeler, Land of 10).
This game will be the first-ever college football game produced in virtual reality. Next to actually suiting up for the Gophers, this may be your best chance to get in on the action. If you have a Samsung Phone and a Gear VR head set, you’re good to go.
Chip Scoggins thinks the Gophers have a shot against Nebraska this week, provided they can capitalize on turnovers and run the ball. Basically, if Minnesota does Minnesota things (of 2016), they’ll be just fine.
Leidner Island residents, prepare for the Air Raid! To beat Nebraska, Mitch Leidner may need to throw the ball, and connect on a few attempts downfield. He’s been quietly improving in that area, and against Purdue, he had 231 yards through the air, and also ran for 74 yards and two scores. That kind of dual production from the Gophers quarterback may be all that’s needed to beat Nebraska (Joe Christensen, Star Tribune).
If you’ve been paying attention, you know that the Gophers defense has drawn its share of yellow laundry. The Tracy Claeys/Jay Sawvel defenses require at least a bit of aggression, but the spate of targeting calls on Minnesota are troubling. In this piece from Joe C, Sawvel takes a closer look at each targeting call and gives his own opinion.
Bad Other Guys
Nebraska began the season hot but has looked terrible in two road losses to Wisconsin and Ohio State. The game against the Badgers was close, but the Buckeyes just trucked the Huskers to the tune of 62-LOL BIG RED, and it’s not clear Nebraska is fully recovered from that. But the Huskers should get a boost from playing at home again in front of “The Greatest Fans in College Football.” (You cannot see me, but MASSIVE EYEROLL. UGH).
Tommy Armstrong went into concussion protocol after a bad hit/fall against Ohio State. He’s been given the green light for practice, but hasn’t yet been cleared for the game on Saturday. If he remains asymptomatic through tomorrow, it’s very likely he’ll play against Minnesota.
Armstrong’s possible return may not help with Nebraska’s ongoing offensive struggles. Despite having a talented receiving corps and an experienced quarterback, the Huskers have not put together a decent passing attack. Indeed, after the loss to Ohio State, Nebraska has fallen below the 50% mark for pass completion, which puts the offense at about 123 out of 128 FBS teams (Chris Bassnet, Lincoln Journal-Star).
JUST RUN THE DANG BALL: Nebraska’s offensive woes are at least in part due to dwindling production in the ground game. Through the first five games of the season, the Huskers nearly 250 yards/game, but only 135 yards/game since then. Injuries on the offensive line and to sophomore Devine Ozigbo are slowing Nebraska down, and one of the Big Ten’s best run defenses is coming into town—Minnesota ranks 2nd in the league at 3.3 yards/carry, behind only Michigan).
And finally, here’s your official #ThrowbackThursday moment of not-so-Zen:
(Ok, so today’s not Thursday either; vide supra).