On Saturday the Minnesota Gophers will host the Colorado Buffaloes at Huntington Bank Stadium at 3:30 (EST). This will be the last of their schedule home and home series. Minnesota is a -27.5-point favorite and is given a 94.8% chance to win according to ESPN’s FPI. Minnesota comes into Saturday’s game with a 2-0 record, with a pair of dominating wins over New Mexico State (0-3) and Western Illinois (0-2). Colorado on the other hand is 0-2 with losses to TCU (2-0) and Air Force (2-0). Colorado has struggled losing both of its games by an average of 28 points. The Gophers on the other hand, have only allowed ten points, outscoring their opponents 100-10. Colorado has a tough task if they want to beat the Gophers Sunday and get payback for last year’s loss.
The Gophers couldn’t have asked for a better start to the year. Averaging 50 points a game and allowing only five, they have been dominant. Now, it is worth noting that both of those teams are a combined 0-5, but the Gophers are doing exactly what they are supposed to against these bad teams. To show just how dominate Minnesota has been, here are some statistics to look at.
- Time of Possession: 83:43 to 34:17
- First Downs: 65 to 14
- Total Yards: 1,164 to 285
- Total Yards Per Game: 582 to 142.5
Minnesota has been impressive. The defense has been lights out, holding their opponents to just ten points through their first two games. Minnesota also has an interception in each of their games, but did give up a fumble last week on their opening drive. The offense has been great, finding balance in the passing and running game, averaging 280 passing yards per game and 302 rushing.
What To Watch
Minnesota’s running game has been the driving force on offense. The Gophers have only scored one passing touchdown so far this season. While they did open up the passing game last week, throwing for 372 yards, it’s been all about the ground game. Star running back Mohamed Ibrahim has 262 yards on 44 carries, averaging 6.0 yards per carry with four touchdowns. His counterpart Trey Potts has been just as good with 168 yards on 27 carries, averaging 6.2 yards per carry with three touchdowns. Minnesota has scored 12 rushing touchdowns this year, including four quarterback sneaks.
Colorado this season has given up on average 355 rushing yards per game. Last week in their 41-10 loss to Air Force, the Buffaloes gave up 435 yards rushing. Ibrahim and Potts should both have huge games on the ground. While Minnesota shouldn’t be as one sided as Air Force was (who only had eight passing yards to their 435 rushing), it is safe to say Minnesota should have another huge rushing game on Saturday.
Colorado’s start to the season has been pretty much opposite of Minnesota. The Buffaloes dropped their home opener to TCU 38-13 and then lost to Air Force 41-10 on the road. Colorado has struggled offensively scoring 11.5 points per game and averaging 255 yards of total offense with 143 yard passing and 112 rushing. The offense didn’t turn the ball over against TCU, but did three times against Air Force (one interception and two fumbles).
On the other side of the ball, the defense has also struggled, especially in the run game. Colorado has allowed 39.5 points per game and 428 yards of total offense. Their biggest weakness is in the running game, where they have allowed 355 yards per game. The bright spot is that they have given up only 73 yards per game (although Air Force only threw for eight in their win). Another thing is that Colorado forced three turnovers against Air Force, all being fumbles. They will need a repeat effort against the Gophers to give them the best chance at winning the game.
What To Watch
Linebackers Josh Chandler-Semedo and Quinn Perry have been the leading tacklers for the Buffaloes. Perry has 23 takles (15 solo and 8 assist) with a fumble recovery. Chandler-Semedo has 16 tackles (10 solo and 4 assist) and also has a fumble recovery. They will need another performance like this as well as support from the rest of their defense to have any chance at slowing down the Gophers offense. It will be a tall task and Colorado is in desperate need for a win. If they are to pull off the upset, both Perry and Chandler-Semedo will be at the forefront on defense.
Last Year’s Matchup
Last year Minnesota traveled to Boulder and put on a dominant performance beating the Buffaloes 30-0. Minnesota completely controlled the game, out gaining Colorado 441 to 63 in total yards of offense. Colorado fumbled the ball twice and had only six first downs to Minnesota’s 22. The Gophers also controlled the time of possession with 40:13 to the Buffaloes 19:47. Minnesota had 164 yards passing and 277 rushing, while Colorado only had 82 yards passing and -19 yards rushing (Ouch).
In the game Trey Potts led the way for the Gophers with 26 carries for 121 yards and three touchdowns. Tanner Morgan had a good game as well throwing 164 yards and Chris Autman-Bell had four receptions for 79 yards. Colorado on the other hand saw quarterback Brendon Lewis throw for 55 yards and wide receiver Brenden Rice had three catches for 25 yards. Running back Drew Carter had two carries for nine yards. On Saturday Colorado will look to get revenge for last year’s home loss.
My bold prediction is that the Gophers will hold Colorado to under 100 yards of total offense for the second straight year. The Gopher’s defense has been very dominant so far, giving up very little. Last year they held them to 63 yards of total offense and even had Colorado end the game with -19 yards rushing. Minnesota so far this year has allowed 142.5 yards per game and held New Mexico State to under 100 yards of total offense in their season opener. Colorado hasn’t done much on offense this season and the Gophers on paper look to be better than TCU and Air Force. I expect another dominating game by Minnesota this year.
The following betting lines are according to ESPN’s Pick Center.
- Minnesota: -27.5
- Colorado: +27.5
- Minnesota: -4662
- Colorado: +1588
Where To Watch The Game
Colorado and Minnesota will start at 3:30 (EST) and will air on ESPN2. Beth Mowins, Kirk Morrison, and Stormy Buonantony will be the game’s commentators. You can watch the game on the ESPN app or on their website (you will need to have a TV provider to watch). You can also watch if you have an ESPN+ subscription. Streaming Services that have ESPN are fuboTV, Youtube TV, Sling, Hulu (with live TV), and DirecTV Stream.
Colorado has played a tougher schedule than the Gophers, but Minnesota has bullied their lesser opponents en route to a 2-0 start. Last season, Minnesota dominated Colorado on their home turf, and they won’t let them have the chance to return the favor. Minnesota will see another massive week from Mohamed Ibrahim and Trey Potts as each will rush for over 100 yards and will have a pair of touchdowns. It is hard to see Colorado doing much after struggling against TCU and Air Force. Minnesota will have no problem and will cruise to 3-0 while Colorado falls to 0-3. Minnesota wins 34-0
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