Week 4 Preview: Bobcats at Gophers
Minnesota, expected to battle Wisconsin, Nebraska and Northwestern for the Big Ten's West Division title, finishes nonconference play Saturday when its hosts Ohio. It will be the second straight week the Golden Gophers host a Mid-American Confere...
Minnesota, expected to battle Wisconsin, Nebraska and Northwestern for the Big Ten’s West Division title, finishes nonconference play Saturday when its hosts Ohio. It will be the second straight week the Golden Gophers host a Mid-American Conference East Division team and head coach Jerry Kill no doubt will be hoping for a more impressive offensive performance than took place in last week’s 10-7 victory over Kent State, which had many in TCF Bank Stadium booing.
Plagued by an injury-depleted offensive line, Minnesota rushed for just 104 yards against Kent State while erratic junior quarterback Mitch Leidner, the object of much of the booing, completed 17-of-27 passes for 184 yards and a touchdown but also was intercepted twice as the Golden Gophers turned the ball over three times.
Gophers favored by 10. Over/Under: 47.0.
ABOUT OHIO (3-0)
The Bobcats return 20 starters, including all five offensive linemen, from a squad that finished 6-6 a year ago, so the impressive start, which includes a 21-10 home win over Marshall, is not a big surprise. Senior quarterback Derrius Vick ranks seventh nationally in pass efficiency (185.9) having completed 34-of-48 passes for 548 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions with junior wide receiver Sebastian Smith and sophomore wide receiver Brandon Cope each catching a pair of TDs. The Bobcats defense, which is allowing only 17.3 points and 135 yards per game rushing, is led by sophomore middle linebacker Quentin Poling, who has two sacks and two forced fumbles to go along with a team best 25 tackles.
ABOUT MINNESOTA (2-1)
Leidner is 12-7 in his career as a starter and is a good runner with 17 career rushing TDs and a pair of 100-yard rushing games. But Kill, who had true freshman Demry Croft warming up last week, deferred any quarterback questions until later in the week, saying “everybody will spin it the way they want to.” The good news for Gopher fans is the defense, led by sophomore defensive tackle Steven Richardson (10 tackles, 1.5 sacks) and one of the nation’s best secondaries, has been stout, holding explosive TCU to just 23 points in the season opener and blanking Kent State last week. The Golden Gophers haven’t allowed more than 10 points in a quarter this season and have allowed a touchdown in just five of 13 quarters (including OT at Colorado State).
Minnesota 27, Ohio 20