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Minnesota Football: Gophers at Illinois looking for that first Big Ten win - OPEN THREAD

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Who gets their first win of the 2020 season?

Minnesota v Maryland Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

In this odd and disappointing season your 0-2 Gophers head to Illinois to face the 0-2 Illini. It appears as though both teams are going to be without a number of starters due to Covid and contact tracing protocols. So...this game should be...interesting.

3 KEYS

  • Turnovers - Last week they were +2 in turnovers and still managed to lose. This defense isn’t too keen on actually stopping an offense so getting some turnover gifts will help.
  • Stop the run - First of all, we really don’t stop the run so this would be a good thing. Secondly, I’m not convinced that their 4th string QB is going to be able to effectively win this game with his arm. Stop the run, force passing situations, receive punts.
  • Do your job!! - Particularly the defense, just do what you’re asked to do on each play. If that’s to set the edge or fill a gap, do it.

OPPOSING PLAYERS TO WATCH

  • #7 QB - Coran Taylor - Covid has taken out much of the Illini quarterback room and I think they are officially on their 7th string QB. This guy is a key, not for what he might for for Illinois but for what he might do for the Gopher defense.
  • #99 DE - Owen Carney Jr. - With 3 sacks in their first two games, this is a guy I’d like to see kept out of the Gopher backfield.

PREDICTION

Can I cop out and just not make a prediction? I mean, the Gophers are starting a walk-on offensive lineman, won’t have their defensive coordinator and Illinois is down to their 4th string quarterback along with sever other players out today for both teams. Welcome to college football in 2020.

Fine, I’ll still make a prediction and go with the Gophers. We are really not playing well and the optimist in me says that things will get fixed eventually. Maybe it starts today, maybe it starts in 2021, I don’t particularly care about this season much. But I’ll take Minnesota as being not as bad as Illinois.

Minnesota - 35
Illinois- 31