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Minnesota Football: Gophers Head to Northwestern Looking for Back to Back B1G Wins - OPEN THREAD

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Can the Gophers earn back-to-back Big Ten wins?

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Minnesota Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Big Game for the Gophers as they are looking to continue to get better in year one. They do have a chance to clinch a bowl game with a win today in Evanston. The weather appears to be a dominant story for this game with periods of rain to go along with winds ranging from 20-40 miles per hour. Can the Gophers get that sixth win in a road upset?

3 KEYS

  • Demry Croft Continued Development - Game by game, Croft has been getting incrementally better. Last week it was both the passing and his decision making in the RPO offense. Just keep getting slightly better...don’t regress. This game will be interesting as his receiving corp will depleted and it will have to be our run game against a good run defense.
  • Find a Way to Move the Ball - Northwestern’s rush defense ranks near the top of the Big Ten while their pass defense is dead last. Is their rushing defense that good? Or do teams just have such an easy time throwing the ball that they don’t need to run it much? Regardless, I don’t care which way we move the ball as long as we do. Passing might be tough as the conditions are going to be wet and windy. Don’t care, just move the ball.
  • Stop the Run - The Wildcats have a dynamic back in Justin Jackson. He hasn’t had a monster season season but he’s capable of rolling to a huge game. I’d like to keep him bottled up and make them beat us through the air on an ugly weather day.

OPPOSING PLAYERS TO WATCH

  • QB - Clayton Thorson - The quick passing game will be key for Northwestern to keep the offense balanced.
  • LB - Paddy Fisher - Second in the conference in tackles including 17 against Michigan State last month.

PREDICTION

Maybe I just have unnecessary disdain for Northwestern, maybe it’s just a lack of respect but I think the Gophers can win this game. Last week’s win over Nebraska was a confidence boosting win that the process is working (maybe). I think they follow it up with a win. I’m not super confident, but I’m going with it.

Minnesota - 24
Northwestern - 17