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Minnesota Football: Gophers Host Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders - OPEN THREAD

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Final non-conference game, talk about the game here.

Minnesota v Oregon State Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

The Blue Raiders are back on the schedule and this one brings a dangerous passing attack led by Offensive Coordinator Tony Franklin. He is an offensive mastermind who will have a plan ready to pick at this Gopher secondary. But let’s take a look a few keys to today’s game and what to look for.

3 KEYS

  • Establish the Run - For the third week in a row, this is a key...because it really is going to be all season. MTSU has an aerial attack that can be dangerous so owning the line of scrimmage and sustaining lengthy scoring drives is going to be a huge key to winning this one.
  • Defending the Pass - The Gopher defense has been quite good in the first two weeks, but if the Blue Raider’s quarterback is healthy he is going to be the best we have seen under center. This passing attack will put the secondary in compromising positions and they better be tuned in. A big turnover or two along with a few key third-down stops will go a long way towards pulling this one out.
  • Third Downs - I anticipate third downs are going to be huge today. With that said, the Blue Raiders were just 8/12 on third down in their win over Syracuse while the Orange were 8/22. But I still am sticking to this as a key. We need to convert the short ones and get them off the field as much as possible.

OPPOSING PLAYERS TO WATCH

  • #3 - WR - Richie James - Say what you want about quarterback Brent Stockstill (who may or may not be playing today) being the key to watch, but his primary receiver is the one who concerns me the most. Richie James has 18 catches in 2 games and 2 touchdowns. I suspect that if we can negate his production, the Blue Raiders will have a hard time moving the ball and scoring.
  • #16 - LB - Khalil Brooks - Team’s leading tackler and Brooks also has 2.5 tackles for a loss.

PREDICTION

If Stockstill still is playing I think this one is close, but still a Gopher win. If he is not playing I think we win this one handily with an interception or two going our way.

Minnesota - 34
Middle Tennessee St - 17