Gophers open Big Ten play at NorthwesternMinnesota Sports - The University of Minnesota has an important first game to start the 114th season of Big Ten football.
Preview From Big Ten-fans.com
The U heads to Evanston, Illinois Saturday looking to start out their Big Ten conference play with a victory and to find their long missing running game. Through three games, the Gophers are averaging just 85.7 yards per game on the ground for a national ranking of 105 th. Duane Bennett is leading Minnesota in rushing with 121 yards on 30 carries for 1 touchdown and DeLeon Eskridge has rushed for 103 yards on 22 carries.
While Northwestern’s offensive statistics may look pretty good from the outside looking in (27 th ranked nationally, 431 yards/36 points per game), a closer look will reveal that the Wildcats have played inferior opponents. Northwestern defeated Towson handily in week one 47-14, squeaked by Eastern Michigan in week two 27-24, and fell prey to the Orange last week 37-34.
Minnesota is coming off a hard fought loss against the number six team in the country, California Golden Bears and Heisman candidate running back Jahvid Best. While Minnesota has not looked impressive against any of their three opponents, they are playing typical grind it out, Big Ten football and are 2-1. The schedule gets very difficult from here on out, so winning against Northwestern is crucial.
Expect to see the Minnesota offense attempt to jumpstart the running game in the first half, but ultimately resort to doing what this team does best, pass the football. Eric Decker is too good of a weapon to not maximize. I was very happy to see JuCo wide receiver Heyo Carpenter and future quarterback MarQueis Gray get involved last week and expect to see more of them in the following weeks.