Gophers fall to Illinois, 2nd loss a team wearing orange and neither make any sense. Now sit at 6-3.
After finally getting ranked in the Top 20, the Minnesota Gophers came out flat at home versus Illinois, ending the Gopher's 4-game winning streak. The Gophers are now 0-2 against teams that sport the color orange, but the good news is they don't have anymore orange schools on the current schedule!
I don't have much to go over with this performance. It reminded me very much of the Bowling Green game with the Gophers offense deciding not to show up, unfortunately. Illinois grabbed a 14-0 lead in the 1st half and it remained that way until late in the 4th Quarter. The Gophers finally scored a TD and then proceeded the miss the extra point, the exact way you'd expect it to go based on how the rest of the game went. The Gophers defense wasn't as sharp on Saturday as they typically have been allowing 185 rushing yards (but only 80 passing yards). This should have easily been enough to capture the win at home, but it was one of those days where the offense didn't play well. Illinois was able to shut down the red hot Gophers run game while exposing the poor passing game. The passing game just really hasn't worked at all this year. I don't know if it's the Offensive Coordinator (who hasn't exactly had the best track record) or if QB Tanner Morgan has really declined this much, but it has become clear that something does need to change to get the Gophers back to the balanced offensive attack they had in 2019.
To Illinois' credit, they are only 4-6 but they have beaten Nebraska, top 10 Penn State, and now top 20 Minnesota. It is also clear that the Big Ten has become much more balanced, similar to how the SEC is. For example: Purdue has beaten #2 Iowa and #3 Michigan State this season and Wisconsin beat a top 10 Iowa team. These last 3 weeks with still see a lot more movement from both sides of the Big Ten and hopefully Minnesota can be one of the teams that takes advantage of the opportunity to win out and win the Big Ten West! Next week Minnesota will travel to Iowa to battle for the Floyd of Rosedale Trophy. I will have more on this matchup later in the week! Stay positive everyone, and Go Gophers!!!