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Minnesota Football: Three keys to beating Northwestern in Evanston

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Here is what the Gophers need to do to come away from Evanston with a win

Miami-Ohio v Minnesota Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

The Gophers have 2 blowout wins this season. The first was Colorado, which was followed up with one of the worst losses since Tim Brewster. The second was last week’s win over Maryland. And up next is arguably the 2nd worst team on our schedule. What do the Gophers have to do to make sure a massive let down doesn’t happen again?

3 KEYS

  • Get those backs going - I love the opportunity for the Gophers to give a ton of reps to Bucky Irving and Ky Thomas. Give these guys more carries and experience against Big Ten opponents. By the time we get to Iowa and Wisconsin, I want them to be playing like more experienced veterans. Much of this depends on the offensive line doing what they are supposed to do.
  • No Turnovers! - The ball is the program. No stupid interceptions, no special teams turnovers, hang on to the ball. The Gophers were -2 in turnovers against Nebraska and nearly lost. See what happens when you give an inferior opponent multiple opportunities?
  • No Penalties - I wanted to go with a defensive key here, but the Northwestern offense is really bad. The defense is really not a key to winning, just that if they suck it becomes a key to losing. Just don’t kill drives with penalties or allow a bad Northwestern offense to keep moving the chains due to mistakes on our part.

OPPOSING PLAYERS TO WATCH

  • #26 RB - Evan Hull - A sophomore from Maple Grove who leads the Wildcats in rushing and may have a little extra juice going up against the Gophers this weekend.
  • #28 LB - Chris Bergin - Originally a walk-on at Northwestern who now leads the Big Ten in tackles and will likely be on an All-Big Ten team. Kid makes a ton of tackles and it always around the ball. Considering how likely it is that we will run the ball a lot, his name should be called frequently.

PREDICTION

There really is no reason that the Gophers should lose this game. But weird things happen in college football, we should know. The hope is that the Bowling Green game should serve as an adequate reminder that we cannot take anything for granted.

I do think that the Gopher line dominates and the defense has no trouble stopping the Wildcat offense.

Minnesota - 31
Northwestern - 10