Preview: Gophers at Rutgers Saturday

Can Minnesota keep their hot streak going as huge favorites

Lindsey Peterson
October 18, 2019 - 3:39 pm

© Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

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The Minnesota Golden Gophers are 6-0 and playing their best football of the year following a 34-7 win over Nebraska.

Next, it's off to New Jersey and a game at Rutgers.  Here's our preview of Saturday's game which kicks off at 2:30pm.  

Big Favorites
Minnesota hasn't been favored by this much in a Big Ten game in a long time.  They opened at 29.5 and now sit at 28.5 on Friday afternoon according to scoresandodds.com.  The last time the Gophers were favored by that much in any game was 2010 over Soth Dakota St. (29.5).  They lost 41-38. That was the beginning of the end for the Tim Brewster era.  

In a Big Ten game, this is the move they've been favored by Las Vegas since November 1st, 2003 when the 28.5 point spread was covered easily in a 55-7 win at the Dome over Indiana.  In a road game in the Big Ten?  We have no idea how long it's been.  Probably many decades.  

The reason why is....

Rutgers is awful 
And that's not just editorial commentary.  This is not a good major conference football team.  The Scarlet Nights rank dead last in scoring offense in FBS football.  They score 11.8 points per game, and that is offset because they scored 48 points in the season's first game against FCS team UMass. 

Since then?  0, 16, 0, 7 and 0 points.  Also, they are 128th out of 130 teams in total offense so even without scoring points, they can't move the ball.  

It's not much better on the defensive side of the ball where they rank 107th and give up 450 yards a game(!!!).  

The numbers don't like this far into the season.  Rutgers is not a good football team, let alone a Big Ten team.  

Tanner Morgan
It was a two-quarterback race in spring practice between Morgan and Zack Annexstad who ended up out idefinitely with a foot injury.  The job became all Morgan and wow has he taken the opportunity and run with it.

Right now, Morgan is the 4th highest rated passer in NCAA Football.  With company like Joe Burrow of LSU, Jalen Hurts of Oklahoma, and Tua Tagovailoa of Alabama, we're talking elite company for Morgan.  He has 14 TD's and just 3 picks so far.  

Can he keep it up?  Against Rutgers that shouldn't be an issue.  The schedule gets much harder in November and the Gophers will depend on Morgan to continue to be this efficient.  

What to Watch For
1- Stay healthy
2- Run the ball like you have the last couple of weeks with Smith/Brooks/Ibrahim to set up the pass
3- Play clean... no turnovers, no penalties

Do those three things solidly, and you'll leave New Jersey 7-0.

Minnesota at Rutgers
2:30pm Saturday (CT)
TV: Big Ten Network
Weather: Mostly sunny and 60 at kickoff

 

 

 

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