With over 5,600 yards of offense in 2019, the Gopher’s passing attack was on fire, and the team won eleven games. The Gophers were just one win away from the Big Ten title. Check out the best bookmakers for betting on College Football!
Although the offense was a bit battered last year, it finished third in the country in time of possession and third in Big Ten in rushing. It also had just enough efficiency to get the job done.
This year, the parts will be back to do more, including Kirk Ciarrocca. He was then the offensive coordinator, but he took off for a while, and now he is back. So is…
Tanner Morgan. He is now in his fifth year as the starting quarterback. Now he wants to relive the magic of 2019 when he was one of the most efficient passers in the country. He threw for 3,253 yards and 30 touchdowns three years ago, and he threw just 17 touchdown passes in the two previous seasons.
Chris Autman Bell is also back after leading the team in grabs with 36 and six touchdowns, despite missing a few games due to injury. All five top pass catchers are back, but they need more productivity and to have the occasional big play explosion.
The running game will be the star, even though the primary focus is on the passing attack. Although the line lost Blaise Andries and Daniel Faalele, some of its most destructive players have been replaced by C John Michael Schmitz and Quinn Carroll (Notre Dame) and Chuck Filiaga(Michigan).
Mohamad Ibrahim ran through Ohio State in the season’s opener before sustaining a torn Achilles heel. Ibrahim is not the only one left. Ky Thomas, the leading rusher, is heading to Kansas and No. Mar’Keise Irving has left for Oregon. The Gophers have added depth at running back in Trey Potts and Bryce Williams. They are good enough to rotate in.
It was a great defense in 2021. It was first in the Big Ten and third in the country. They allowed 279 yards per game and only 17 points per game. It was great at passing defense but even better at stopping the run.
While a few key tacklers have returned, the losses at defensive tackle (along with Boye Mafe, the pass rusher, and Jack Gibbens, the leading tackler) are huge. If the Gophers are to match last year’s production, then the Gophers need to get pressure up front.
The defensive front. Although it didn’t make much effort to get in the backfield, it was a solid rock. Darnell Jefferies, a Clemson transfer, is a massive help to veteran Trill Carter on the inside. But the pressure must come from Thomas Rush, Jay Joyner and Vanderbilt transfer Lorenza Surgers on the outside.
Mariano Sorimarin, the second-leading tackler, is back in the center of the linebacking corp. A mix of players will take over for him next to the weakside job, with Braelen Oliver, 24-tackle, getting the first look.
Although the corners are just beginning to turn, safety is in place. Tyler Nubin and Jordan Howden make a great 1-2 tandem. WKU veteran Beanie Bishop is coming off a tremendous season.
Justin Walley did a great job when he had his chance at the corner. He will likely be the shutdown man, with Abilene Christian transfer Ryan Stapp taking over on the other.
The Gophers sometimes have the annoying habit of working too hard on non-conference teams, as PJ Fleck’s team lost to a terrible Bowling Green team last season.
The first part of this schedule is perfect if the Gophers have gotten the yips out of their system. They will need to get back on track and find their groove among the new defensive players. That’s why New Mexico State and Western Illinois exist.
Then a win over Colorado in Minneapolis sets up a Big Ten opener at Michigan State. Check out the top sports betting sites for betting on Football!
Minnesota should be at 3-0 and should be able to take care of Northwestern University and Rutgers.
Purdue at Illinois at Nebraska – Get two wins in this group, and it is fantastic, but I think winning all three is possible.
Then it gets tricky for the Gophers- Michigan State, Penn State and Wisconsin – lean heavily towards the loss column.
Although there is no Michigan or Ohio State to face, Minnesota should not take any losses. Minnesota should be watching out for Rutgers. Michigan State?
I think this Gopher team will win nine games this season and, with a bit of luck, win the Big Ten West! Under Fleck, seven wins is a certainty for the Gophers. Eight wins would be great, but nine would be amazing.
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