Gophers @ Fresno State: The 2019 Measuring Stick Game That Will Be Decided at the Line of Scrimmage

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Happy Saturday to everyone except the Cleveland Indians and the Fresno State Bulldogs!

After an underwhelming victory over South Dakota State University 9 days ago, the Gophers packed their belongings and flew West to Fresno Friday afternoon, for a 9:30 PM kickoff vs the Fresno State Bulldogs, who finished 2018 ranked #18 in the country with a 12-2 record.

One of those two losses came at TCF Bank Stadium in week 2 of 2018.

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But now, Fresno has a new (Senior) QB named Jorge Reyna, and he sure looked like shit last week vs USC. He couldn’t hit open receivers and committed 3 turnovers by himself. It’s almost safe to say that, had Reyna played at the level of a decent game manager, Fresno would have come out with a victory in Rose Bowl Stadium in a major upset…

With last week’s QB struggles, you can expect Fresno to rely on the run to get the ball downfield on offense. They have the RB to do it, too. Ronnie Rivers was injured last year when the Bulldogs visited the U of M campus, but once he hit the field later in the year, he was a definite troublemaker for opposing defenses. Ronnie is Fresno’s biggest homerun threat and the key to winning for the Gophers. Do NOT let Ol’ Ronnie Rivers beat you.

That’s a lot easier said than done, especially when you remember how poorly the Gophers defensive line played last week, when they gave up 175 yards and 2 TD’s on the ground vs the Jackrabbits, and had problems getting pressure into the SDSU backfield all night (ZERO QB hurries, 1 Sack, 2 TFL). This offensive line will be better than what the Gophers faced then, so they’d better leave that weak-ass trench game they brought vs SDSU, at home; and instead, bring the nasty one that wants to travel to Fresno and fuck shit up.

While the defensive line was getting beat up last week against an FCS opponent, their offensive line wasn’t holding up much better. With the RB talent in Maroon and Gold, 132 yards is the total you want for your RB2, not for your entire team. But, that was life last week.

We were beat at the point of attack, on both sides of the ball, for most of week 1. That NEEDS to change if we are going to win in Fresno. It’s as simple as that. Both the Gophers and Fresno want to move the ball on the ground as much as possible. If you can be the defense that makes either Tanner Morgan or Jorge Reyna beat you, then your team will be the one that comes out on top of this game. 

So, that’s it — Win the battle at the line of scrimmage — win the game. Simple……. right?

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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