Minnesota Gophers Week 4 Preview 2021: Bowling Green Falcons
"M-I-N-N-E-S-O-T-A! Minnesota! Minnesota! Ayyyyyyyy, GOPHERSSS!" This chant will be ringing throughout the greater Minneapolis area all Saturday afternoon as the Gophers will be able to score at will against this terrible Bowling Green Falcons football team.
One week after the Minnesota Gophers shut out the Colorado Buffaloes 30-0 (CO only lost 10-7 to the #5 ranked Texas A&M Aggies the week prior), they now head back home to face one of the worst teams in all of NCAA Football. Bowling Green comes into Minneapolis as HUGE 31 point underdogs. On a positive note for the Falcons, they just earned their first win in 686 days with a convincing 27-10 victory over the FCS opponent, Murray State Racers. The Falcons, though, can't really play offense or defense. Their defense allowed 45 points and 310 rushing yards per game, while their offense scored 11.4 points per game last season. These stats all ranked either last or second to last in the 2020 FBS season. They have performed a little bit better this year, but it has only been 3 games and Gophers are coming off a convincing road win against a PAC-12 opponent.
The Minnesota Gophers shouldn't have any issues running the ball against Bowling Green with Treyson Potts, Markeise Irving and Ky Thomas, as they did against Colorado. It would be nice to see the offensive passing game shine on Saturday, too, now that the three Wide Receivers (Chris Autman-Bell, Dylan Wright, and Daniel Jackson) are all back on the field together. QB Tanner Morgan is only 33-59 with 481 yards and 3 TDs in 3 games this season, mainly due to the running game playing so well, averaging nearly 220 yards on the ground in the three games. Expect the Gophers to continue to lean heavy on the running game, but hopefully mixing in a higher percentage of passing plays throughout the game and specifically in the redzone. The Gophers defense did give up some big plays and drives in the first two games this season, but if they play like they did against Colorado, they should have another great showing. They didn't record a sack in the first two games, but things turned around last week as they recorded 4 sacks, 8 tackle for losses, allowed -19 rushing yards, and 63 total yards. The 63 total yards by Colorado is the lowest by any FBS school in the last 4 years. This Gopher defense showed up to play last week and seems as though they have found their identity after losing a lot of key pieces after the magical 2019 season.
Expect this game to be dominated by Minnesota from start to finish. The Gophers offense will be able to run and pass all day, while the Bowling Green offense has created a game plan of lots of short passing plays since they haven't shown that they can run the ball or pass the ball deep with any efficiency. The Gophers defense will smother the Falcons offense all day and the game will be out of reach fairly early on. Minnesota also comes in with a 21-game winning streak against non-conference opponents (including bowl games) which is the longest by a Big Ten team since Purdue (24) set the bar between 1926-33. Minnesota will win this game convincingly 45-10, then switch their focus back to Big Ten play as they travel to Purdue the following week.
Row The Boat, Ski-U-Mah, GO GOPHERS!