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Minnesota Football: Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Maryland Terps Open Thread

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Kicking off the Big Ten Season against Maryland

NCAA Football: Middle Tennessee at Minnesota Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Gophers took care of business in the non-conference portion of their schedule. Maryland was 2-1 2-2 (losing to Central Florida and ACL). The real story today is the fact that Maryland is on their 4th QB of the year while the Gophers had a bye week to get a few key guys healthy.

The Big Ten’s number one scoring offense against the Big Ten’s number one scoring defense. Should be interesting. Let’s take a look at today’s keys and then get to the comments.

3 KEYS

  • Limit Ty Johnson and Big Plays - I’m not all that confident Maryland will be able to sustain drives throughout the game and if they put up a big number on the Gopher defense it will come from a couple big plays. Limiting Ty Johnson is really what it comes down to. He’s pretty good and has the ability to break one out of the backfield. Looking to our front-seven for this one.
  • The Ball is the Program - I suspect that turnovers are going to be a big deal today. With Max Bortenschlager not exactly playing very well in his time so far under center, getting a turnover or two from seems likely. On the flip side, Conor Rhoda has been pretty good about not turning the ball over. That needs to remain the same.
  • Run the Ball - No need to get fancy here just because Maryland has the 2nd worst pass defense in the league (raw numbers, not advance stats). Run the ball. Play to our strength by getting Shannon Brooks and Rodney Smith engaged, then hit them over the top when the opportunity presents. But manage field position and time of possession by running the ball.

OPPOSING PLAYERS TO WATCH

  • RB - Ty Johnson - He’s the key to their offense today. Bortenschlager and turnovers may play a key role in giving us the game, Johnson is the one capable of keeping Maryland in it (or winning it).
  • LB - Jermaine Carter Jr. - Senior linebacker with 2.5 sacks and 4 TFLs this year. Keeping him out of or backfield would be nice.

PREDICTION

Vegas has this as a 13 point Gopher win. I think a week ago this may have been considered a game Maryland may win, but their UCF game wasn’t very pretty. Here’s the thing though...now having a full week to be the guy, the Maryland offense may have had time to put together a plan that best suits Bortenschlager’s skill set (think Case Keenum vs. Pittsburgh compared to Case Keenum vs. Tampa).

I think it is a Gopher win, we haven’t really talked much about how Maryland’s defense isn’t exactly stifling. We will do what we do, wear them down. We win by less than 10 unless the turnovers start coming our way and then we win by more than 2 scores if that happens.

Minnesota - 34

Maryland - 13