Gopher Football Now Favored in Vegas vs. B1G West Champs Northwestern

What the fuck is happening in Vegas right now?

The Gophers play one good game this season against Purdue and now Vegas has them favored to take down Northwestern this weekend, who has already clinched a spot in the Big Ten Championship game, representing the West. I know there were some whispers around this game that had Minnesota pulling the upset but the idea that the Gophers are now favored to win, and thus clinch a bowl appearance, has me reaching for my inhaler…

Now, let’s go over some of the things that have pushed this line in the Gophers’ favor:

Clayton Thorson, the Northwestern 4-year starting quarterback has been BAD recently. He hasn’t thrown for over 167 yards in any of their last 4 games. In those games, he had 5 interceptions to only 3 touchdowns, never achieved a 58% completion rate, and only topped a 100 Quarterback Rating once (vs. Notre Dame: 107.4). It’s been a rough stretch for the senior.

The Northwestern Defense is highly touted but can struggle in the pass game. Although the Wildcats rank in the top-5 in both rushing and yards and touchdowns, their pass defense is sporadic. They post the 9th-ranked Big Ten defense in passing yards. They are also known for their “bend but don’t break” defensive mentality. Though they post a bottom-half passing defense yard-wise, they rank 5th in the amount of passing touchdowns they give up. The Gophers need to penetrate the goaline as if they are Brandon on Spring Break. No field goals here.

– Because the Wildcats have already clinched the Big Ten West, many are expecting them to take their foot off of the gas pedal. To add to that, someone on 92Noon with Paul Allen today told him that the Cats are already resting players this week due to Jimmy Butler Syndrome (general soreness). Can the Gophers take advantage of a team that might not be 100% ready on gameday, like they did last week?

It’s going to come down to defense and putting the ball in the end zone. 

If the defense that showed up for the Gophers last week is the same one that find themselves on the TCF Bank field on Saturday, the Gophers should win. Northwestern hasn’t been good on offense (as shown above) and will give the ball away. The Gophers need to take advantage. Meanwhile, they need to be determined to score touchdowns like Brandon. No settling for foreplay and blue-ball field goals. Get the fucking ball in the end-zone.

If the Gophers can do those two things, this should be a victory, a resulting bowl birth, and a winning streak heading into Wisconsin next week, to finish the season off with a run at The Axe.

Eric Strack
Minnesota Sports Fan

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