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Gophers with early test hosting Fresno State Bulldogs - OPEN THREAD

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Gophers hosting Fresno State Bulldogs for game 2

NCAA Football: New Mexico State at Minnesota Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Very interesting that the line for tonight’s game opened at -2.5 for the Gophers.

The Bulldogs come into this game with the confidence of having won 10 games a year ago and hoping to make a little more noise throughout college football in 2018. They have a senior quarterback who is an Oregon State transfer and had a really nice year for them a year ago.

This is a good test for the Gophers and it might be a little too good of a test.

3 KEYS

  • Third Quarter - Last year the Jeff Tedford led Bulldogs dominated the third quarter with a +57 scoring differential. Last week against Idaho, the third quarter was Fresno’s lowest scoring output but still was +14.
  • Turnovers - Always so important, maybe this should be a permanent key and then I have to come up with 3 more. But, especially with a young quarterback who made a pretty bad turnover mistake last week. Turnovers happen, but they can’t be the story for tonight’s game.
  • Stop the Run - Against New Mexico State the Gophers stopped the run early, making the Aggies one-dimensional. Fresno’s run game is better. They return their two top rushers from last year in Jordan Mims and Josh Hokit, those two will have fresh legs throughout the game. But if the Gopher defense can swarm to the ball, snuff out the run and force Fresno into passing, that’ll be a good thing.

OPPOSING PLAYERS TO WATCH

  • RBs - Mims & Hokit - As stated in the keys, these two must be contained and contained early. Stop the run, make them throw it a lot.
  • LB - Jeffrey Allison - 2017’s tackle leader for Fresno and the Mountain West returns as the heart of the Bulldog defense.

PREDICTION

Before the season started, I had this game as a loss for the Gophers. Fresno is just more experienced and a team that is ready to win in 2018 (yes, I know that it is also Jeff Tedford’s second season).

But the more I think about it, the more I think that this is the right scenario for the Gophers to win. There will be no overlooking Fresno, just because they are not a P5 team. Last week’s game was ideal for getting this team ready to play crisper in week 2. I think we win and play rather well.

Minnesota - 27
Fresno State - 17