Last weekend did not go as planned for the Minnesota Gophers football team. Michigan came to an empty TCF Bank Stadium and stomped a Minnesota team that was riddled with COVID absences (not that it would have mattered). But at least we aren’t the 2020 Maryland Terrapins, who lost 43-3 vs the Northwestern Wildcats. Yeah, that Northwestern.
Earlier in the week, I targeted the four areas PJ Fleck and Co needed to fix most, after that ugly Michigan loss.. but I’m not sure how much it will matter against this week’s opponent.
Not all Tagovailoa’s are created equally.
When watching back the MD vs NW game, there are a couple things that stick out… Maryland can’t stop the run and Tua’s brother, TAULIA TAGOVAILOA, kinda sucks.
At least he did last week. He was overthrowing dudes and under-throwing others. Balls were going into double coverage and getting picked off. Watching it back, it’s hard to believe this kid has the same blood flowing through his veins, as the guy who started as a Freshman at Alabama and is about to take over as a rookie for the Dolphins..
Taulia finished the game vs Northwestern, 14/25 with 3 interceptions. His backup came in and went 4/4, after he was pulled. Remember, Tagovailoa transferred into Maryland because he couldn’t hack it at Alabama.
It’s possible that last week was just 1st-game jitters but the turnaround would have to be drastic, just for him to get back to average. I don’t see everything suddenly clicking one week later.
Mo Ibrahim set to go off…
There was one bright spot to the Minnesota offense last week and it was their running game. The zone attack worked vs Michigan all night long and OC Mike Sanford used it for chunk plays, even in the second half when the Gophers were down big.
Mo Ibrahim finished with 140 yards and 2 touchdowns against a Michigan front seven that makes Maryland’s look like they’re walking off the JV bus. I’m not sure this Terrapin team is any better than the 2019 squad, which finished 1-8 in the Big Ten.
Minnesota stomped on Maryland last season, to the tune of 52-10. The running game was ELITE, going for 321 yards and 4 touchdowns on 52 carries. All running backs were healthy that week, something that didn’t happen often last season, so it was a group effort.
In Friday’s matchup, the bulk of those carries will go to Mohamed Ibrahim and I expect him to do big things with them. In 1995, a Gopher running back named Chris Darkins ran for 294 yards vs the Purdue Boilermakers, setting a University of Minnesota record that is yet to be broken 25 years later. I’m not ruling that total out for Mo on Friday night, especially if he can get loose for a big one that goes 70-80 at some point in the night.
When the dust settles in College Park tonight, I expect the Minnesota Gophers to win big. If Northwestern can beat Maryland by 40, then so can we.
Final — Minnesota: 48 | Maryland: 7
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan