The Minnesota Gophers opened Big Ten play in East Lansing by absolutely annihilating Michigan State, 34-7. It was essentially another shutout by the Gophers defense as the Spartans scored their only touchdown with :17 seconds left and against the Gophers 2nd string defense. Tanner Morgan and the offense stuck to their typical balanced attack, accumulating 508 total yards (240 rushing yards and 268 passing yards). Mo Ibrahim officially became the program's all time rushing touchdown leader with his 41st career touchdown. My lifelong Gopher fandom is telling me this isn't sustainable, but watching the Gophers dominate as they have this year tells me they are on a completely different level this season. They have now made a Pac-12 and Big Ten opponent look like a couple FCS opponents, and that shouldn't be overlooked.
It's Homecoming! Stripe the Bank! This is going to be a huge revenge Homecoming game for the Gophers after last season's pathetic, embarrassing Homecoming performance that I WILL NOT expand on. All I know is I would not want to be Purdue this week. The Gopher program is asking fans to wear Maroon and Gold in every other section in the stadium, so if you are going to the game, make sure you know which section in so you wear the correct color! See image below for assigned color sections:
On to the game! Purdue is is dealing with a lot of injuries, including a disclosed injury to their QB, Aidan O'Connell, making his status, and number of other starters, game-time decisions. Purdue also struggles to run the ball and relies on moving it through the air. This Gopher defense might be the best defense they will face all season and they will look to stop the passing attack, forcing Purdue to run the ball or risk passing into a flurry of interceptions. Look for Minnesota to put up a very similar performance as we saw against Michigan State. If Aidan O'Connell plays, I predict a 34-13 victory for the Gophers. But if O'Connell does not play, the Gophers will win 42-3. Expect this to be another great performance by the Golden Gophers!
Lunch Break Takes with Max and Jacks:
Max Forster (with Little Pepper Promotions) says that the Gophers just need to keep winning the games on the schedule. "I don't care if they win by a small margin, but they gotta keep winning all of the winnable games if they want to get into the conversation with Ohio State and Michigan." Well said, Max. I agree.
Jack Anderson (with JEA Architects) says to expect at least a 17 point victory by the Gophers. He also put Michigan on upset alert in Iowa, predicting a 17-14 victory for the Iowa Hawkeyes. Kinnick Stadium is not an easy place for opponents.
Here are some key notes heading into this Homecoming matchup:
Expect Mo Ibrahim to rush for 100+ yards and 1+ rushing touchdown.
WRs Dylan Wright, Michael Brown-Stephens, and Daniel Jackson should have big games with Tanner Morgan continuing his bounce back season.
Tanner Morgan is currently the #1 rated QB according to PFF in College Football this season.
Mo Ibrahim has moved up to #4 on ESPN's Heisman Contender list.
The Minnesota Gophers currently have the 7th best odds according to ESPN to make the CFP, trailing only Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, Clemson, Michigan, and USC.
Minnesota is beating their opponents 183-24 this season (the 1st string defense has only allowed 3 of this points and that was due to a fumble by the offense) in only 4 games.
WR #15 Charlie Jones is really the only player I would recommend keeping an eye on for Purdue (Grad transfer from Iowa and having a breakout season so far).
Penn State scored a last minute touchdown to beat Purdue 35-31, earlier this season. Minnesota plays Purdue this week and Penn State in a few weeks.
Here are the Big Ten games I am looking forward to following this weekend:
Purdue @ #21 Minnesota (-12.0) - Minnesota has won 4 straight against Purdue.
#4 Michigan (-10.5) @ Iowa - Iowa's great defense could help pull off a huge upset.
Illinois @ Wiscansin (-7.0) - HC Bret Bielema's return to Madison, WI won 24-0 last year. Expect a closer game this year. Both teams have solid RB's, ILL has the better QB/WI has the better Defense.
Michigan State @ Maryland (-8.0) - Mich St looks to bounce back from 2 tough losses, Maryland played Michigan tough last week but lost. Likely a high scoring game.
Let's go, Gophers! Keep the magical season rolling and make the 2022 Homecoming Game one to remember! See slideshow below from last weeks win at Michigan State.