Minnesota Gophers (4-2) host the Maryland Terrapins (4-2) Week 8 Preview
Minnesota Gophers will host the Maryland Terrapins from the Big Ten East at 2:30 pm on Saturday. This should be an interesting matchup as the Gophers look to continue improving as we move into the second half of the regular season. The Gophers are coming off of 2 straight Big Ten victories, while the Terps are are coming off of 2 straight losses in blowout fashion. Maryland is still a school that gets very good recruits and should not be taken lightly. Last season, the Terps came out victorious 45-44 at home in an overtime thriller, but a lot has changed since that point. The Gophers defense has vastly improved while its offense has still been inconsistent at times.
Maryland Terrapins: After a nice 4-0 start, the Terps have been blown out by a combined score of 117-31 against Ohio State and Iowa. They have also been hit by the injury bug. On defense, they will be without their top 2 linebackers and their 2nd best cornerback. On offense, their best RB from last year is now in the NFL and their top 2 WRs are both out for the season. They have sustained a lot of injuries but their QB Taulia Tagovailoa, brother of Miami Dolphins QB Tua, can change a game in an instant. Maryland will be running shorter passing routes and the Gophers want to be careful not to let Tagovailoa get hot in the passing game. Their running game has been non-existent the last couple of weeks.
Minnesota Gophers: After a very inconsistent 2-2 start, the Gophers are seemingly starting to find its stride at the right time. Both the OL and DL are winning at the line of scrimmage. The rushing offense hasn't seemed to slow down even though they only have 3 of the 7 RBs left from the start of the season and the rushing defense is currently the 6th best rushing defense in the nation. In fact, the whole defense has been extremely fun to watch. The LBs are all swarming to the ball and everyone on the defense brings an energy and brotherhood where every big play is celebrated as if they are all one unit and a band of brothers, like it should be! QB Tanner Morgan is beginning to find his groove now that the OL is playing like we thought they were capable of and the fact that the top 4 WRs are now playing in the games at the same time. The Gophers like to win the time of possession by using every second of the play clock in-between plays and I would expect to see them continue this with a heavy dose of running with Williams, Irving, and Thomas. The passing game will continue to make plays to the 4 good WRs when necessary with Autman-Bell, Wright, Jackson, and Brown-Stephens all potentially suiting up this weekend. If the defense can continue to limit the opponents rushing attack, this is going to be a long game for Maryland.
Expect this game to be similar to most Gophers games with frustratingly slow moments while the score is close, but Minnesota (4.5 point favorites) should ultimately win this matchup 31-21 as they find an opportunity to pull away in the 4th quarter.