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Minnesota Football: Gophers host Michigan to start Big Ten season - OPEN THREAD

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The Little Brown Jug, primetime football, Gophers are back in 2020!

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 01 Outback Bowl - Minnesota v Auburn Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We have waited months for the 2020 version of Gopher football and it is finally here. But to make things even more exciting we get to watch our favorite college football team play for the coolest rivalry trophy in all of college football. The Little Brown Jug is the rivalry trophy that started them all and Minnesota gets a chance to bring it back home tonight in prime time.

3 KEYS

  • Find offensive rhythm - New offensive coordinator, no Tyler Johnson or Rodney Smith. The Gopher offense does return a lot, but finding a new rhythm and balance early is going to be significant. The primary goal is to find ways to get the ball to Rashod Bateman but that will come when the team has a balanced rushing attack and perhaps getting the tight end involved.
  • Elite pass rush - Getting consistent pressure on the quarterback with the front-four and while still maintaining their appropriate assignments is going to be really important.
  • COVID Outs - Until teams are on the field for warmups, we won’t know officially who will be playing and who will be out. It isn’t just about COVID, but that’s going to be the biggest question and it really may have a huge impact on the outcome.

OPPOSING PLAYERS TO WATCH

  • #5 QB - Joe Milton - The new starting quarterback, Milton is athletic and needs to be contained.
  • #2 DT - Carlo Kemp - Senior defensive lineman who was 3rd team All-Big Ten in 2019 and the more we can keep him out of the backfield, the better.

PREDICTION

I just think that the Gopher defense is going to take some time to adjust and get to a level that can stop a good Big Ten offense. Is the Michigan offense that good? Not entirely sure, but until I’m given reason to think otherwise, I’m nervous.

Michigan has talent. Year after year, the talent level is there. Whether than they put it together and who is best prepared after a truly bizarre offseason is going to determine the winner. I like our chances, wouldn’t at all be surprised with a win. But I’m going to lean Michigan tonight.

Minnesota - 31
Michigan - 34