Friday, October 30, 2015

Lazy Man's Michigan Preview: Minnesota

Prince is still the best thing to come out of Minnesota.

You may have heard already that Minnesota Head Coach, Jerry Kill, decided to retire earlier this week due to health reasons. Coach Kill built some solid programs through the years and is an outstanding coach. He’ll be missed on the sidelines, but health must come first.

Get well, Coach.

(7) Michigan Wolverines (5-2, 2-1 B1G) @ (12) Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-3, 1-2 B1G)
TCF Bank Stadium Saturday, 10/31 7:00 ET, ESPN

Offense
What can Harbaugh/Drevno/Fisch do with a bye-week to prepare? I’m giddy at the proposition.

Even with the added time to prep, the Golden Gophers are a top 20 FEI+ rated defense that plays exceptionally well inside TCF Bank Stadium. And, Minnesota is also coming off a bye-week which means they, too, have had time to add some wrinkles for the Michigan offense to worry about.

Big plays have been there for the taking this season, but the Wolverines have yet to capitalize on the majority of them. Jake Rudock’s long ball is far from stellar and the stable of running backs have consistently missed cuts that could have led to big yards. They need to take advantage of those opportunities if they wish to leave Minneapolis with another B1G win.

The key to this game is to not turn the ball over, because Minnesota’s offense is, well…

Defense
Minnesota is ranked 108th in offensive FEI so far this season. This puts them in the same discussion as Wyoming, New Mexico State, UNLV and Oregon State.

I’ll save you the trouble of looking up actual stats; they are not good.

The defense will need to contain QB Mitch Leidner’s running option when passing options are not available. Control that and Michigan should easily dominate the Gopher offense.

Special Teams
If you fumble the punt snap late in a game, fall on it.

Sorry, it had to be said.

Prediction
I’m not sure what the emotional state of the Gophers will be for this game. When Coach Kill missed last year’s game they came into Ann Arbor and took the Little Brown Jug home with them. His retirement could be the emotional kick this team needs, but I’m not sure if that will be enough.

Barring a turnover fest by the offense, I can’t see Michigan losing this game. Minnesota’s offense is so atrocious it wouldn’t surprise me if they only managed only a handful of first downs, forget any actual scoring drives.

De’Veon Smith has a nice little game, Rudock hits a couple wide open receivers down field as a result of good play design and the Little Brown Jug safely returns home.


Michigan 33 - 3

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