Friday, September 30, 2011

Lazy Man's Michigan Preview: Minnesota

The Little Brown Jug

It's the opening of the B1G season and I am pumped. Let's hope we don't have a repeat of the past two seasons where everything goes to pot. I don't know something feels different this year. Maybe it's because we're not starting freshmen and sophomores in record numbers. I don't know. Anyway on to Minnesota.

Well the Gophers are once again without their new head coach Jerry Kill. We do wish him a speedy recovery and hope that the doctors figure out what's wrong with him. I think he's a great coach and can do somethings in the conference once he gets things going. That said, this is this year and the Gophers have lost to ND State and New Mexico State. At home. Yikes. 

Offensively Minnesota is fairly balanced. They come in scoring just 22.6 ppg and are ranked 87th in total offense. Michigan on the other hand is clearly still a rushing offense. They are ranked 61st in total offense. Most impressively though they are 13 of 13 in the red zone. That is a good sign. 

On the other side of the ball Michigan also has the advantage as the 54th ranked total defense tto Minnesota's 76. But, the wolverines are playing some bend but don't break as they are 11th in the country in scoring defense, which is good for just 12.8 ppg. Minnesota isn't terrible at 26.8 ppg (75th), but given their slate of games, that's not so good. 

This is a good game for Michigan to open conference play with. And of course we can't forget about the greatest trophy in all of college football, The Little Brown Jug is on the line. 

Let's look at the keys

The Gophers are actually pretty good against the run at 33rd. But they've faced the 66th (USC), 118th (Miami NTM) and the 109th (NMST) ranked rushing attacks. Actually the toughest rushing offense they faced was ND St which would ranked 39th if they were in the FBS. As it stands they are 31st in FCS. So the key here is to get Fitz and Smith going early and often. The less Denard we need the better. 

The Gophers don't really excel in anything. They are 44th in rushing and 97th in passing. I think the big thing here will be for the outside backers to keep contain. If we keep the runs inside we should be good. And let's keep the turnovers coming. Minnesota is -.25 in turnover margin. Let's take advantage of that.

Special Teams
Hagerup is back! Let's hope this gives Wile a chance to focus on kickoffs and field goals so I don't have to have an ulcer every time Michigan lines up for a field goal. 

Look I just don't think Minnesota has much of a chance in this game. With the Little Brown Jug on the line they should be focused out of the gate. I think the Wolverines roll 42 - 7.

And now for some actual previews

BWS sees Gardner getting meaningful time.

Go Blue Michigan Wolverine has their staff predictions that all say at least a 20pt victory.

Maize and Blue Nation has a stat chart and that chart has a lot of blue. 

Maize and Go Blue predicts a win and gives us some nice records to keep an eye out for.

At MGoBlog Brian is not worried but says we need to win.

The Big House Blog expects a MAC type game. 

The M Zone Love Know Your Foe!

The Wolverine Blog says watch for Gray, but the Wolverines roll.

Touch the Banner sees a Devin Gardner TD and a Michigan win!

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