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Minnesota Football: Gophers at Oregon State Beavers - OPEN THREAD

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Keys and Who to Watch for Gopher’s 2nd Game of the Year

National Funding Holiday Bowl - Minnesota v Washington State Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Week 2 is here and the Gophers get to hit the road for the first time in 2017. They head to Oregon State for a P5 opponent. The Beavers have struggled this year and have not looked particularly strong in Gary Anderson’s 3rd season. Here is what to look for in tonight’s game.

3 KEYS

  • Establish the Run - Same as last week, but the Gophers really need to get the run game going. Maybe that means the offensive line needs to play better, opening up some holes. Maybe it means the playbook needs to be more creative. Maybe it means the quarterbacks need to keep the ball more on the RPO to keep the defense honest. Whatever it takes, this Beaver defense gave up 291 yards on the ground to Portland State. We better be able to run the ball tonight.
  • The Ball is the Program - On the road against a P5 team (I don’t care what the perception is of them), must win the turnover battle. Our inexperienced quarterbacks need to take care of the ball and our defense needs to generate some additional scoring opportunities. Beaver’s quarterback, Jake Lutton, has thrown 4 picks in his first two games so hopefully there’ll be some opportunities for our secondary to get one or two.
  • Pressure the Quarterback - Really need to see more from our defensive line this week. Fleck referenced it briefly in his weekly press conference that he needs to see more from the line and I suspect that has been emphasized this week. Watch those guys respond this week.

OPPOSING PLAYERS TO WATCH

  • #34 - RB - Ryan Nall - I chose the back over Lutton here cause I think if we shut down their ground game and make the Beavers one-dimensional then we will tee off on Lutton. Nall had a lot of yards at Colorado State but did very little against Portland State. Watch for the front-seven to shut him down early.
  • #55 - ILB - Manase Hungalu - Besides having the coolest name on the defense, Hungalu is second on the team in tackles, leads team in tackles for loss and has a pick. Senior linebacker from Hawaii is someone to watch as we try to get our running game established.

PREDICTION

I think the Gophers win this one but it’ll be close. Oregon State has not looked good this year. They gave up 58 points to Colorado State and needed a touchdown with 1:08 left to beat Portland State. Not impressive. With that said, I was not impressed enough with the Gophers in week one to believe this is a game to take lightly. Oregon State scores in the 4th quarter to make this close, but Gophers move to 2-0.

Minnesota - 24
Oregon State - 20