Big Ten Picks Week Six College Football: Minnesota Golden Gophers at #19 Michigan Wolverines
Minnesota Golden Gophers at Michigan Wolverines
Michigan Stadium – Ann Arbor, Michigan
Saturday, October 5, 2013, 3:30 pm Eastern, TV: ABC or ESPN2
Opening Line: Michigan -16 1/2
Current Line: Michigan -19
Opening Total: 50
Current Total: 48 1/2
Opening Money Line: Michigan -1000 / Minnesota +670
Current Money Line: Michigan -1000 / Minnesota +670
The 4-1 Minnesota Golden Gophers travel to the #19 4-0 Michigan Wolverines Saturday in the annual battle for the Little Brown Jug. The two schools have played for the trophy since Michigan left it at Minnesota in 1903. The Wolverines lead the series 72-24-3 including 38-12-1 in Ann Arbor. Michigan has won 37 of the last 40 meetings against Minnesota, 21 of the last 22, and 5 straight including a 35-13 thrashing last year in Minneapolis.
Minnesota is coached by Jerry Kill. The Golden Gophers lost their first game of the season last week at home against Iowa 23-7. Minnesota has home wins over UNLV 51-23, Western Illinois 29-12, and San Jose State 43-24, along with a road win at New Mexico State 44-21. The Gophers are 3-2 ATS and the total is also 3-2 this season. Minnesota was a 2.5 point dog at home against Iowa and the game went way under the 44.5 point total.
Iowa scored the first 20 points of the game against Minnesota. The Gophers scored late in the third to pull within 13 but they would get no closer. The Hawkeyes added a fourth quarter field goal to ice the game 23-7. Iowa had 464 total yards including 246 rushing yards. Minnesota had just 165 total yards. The Golden Gophers also had two turnovers to Iowa’s one.
Minnesota is outscoring teams 35-21 this season. The Golden Gophers are averaging 343 yards per game on offense, including 111.2 passing and 231.8 rushing yards. The rushing attack is #23 in the country, but the Gophers are #120 out of 125 teams in passing. The Golden Gophers are #103 in total offense. Minnesota is allowing 391 total yards per game, including 259.6 passing yards and 131.4 rushing yards. The Gophers are #93 in pass defense. Minnesota is +2 in turnovers with 7 takeaways. The Gophers are 31/66 on third and fourth down conversions, and opponents are 34/83. Minnesota has forced 6 sacks and allowed 9. The Gophers are 19/20 scoring in the red zone with 15 touchdowns, and opponents are 10/16 with 7 touchdowns. Minnesota has 6 defensive/special teams touchdowns and hasn’t allowed one yet.
Minnesota quarterback Phillip Nelson has thrown for 380 yards with 2 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, along with 42 carries, 203 yards and 3 touchdowns. Back-up Mitch Leidner has thrown for 176 yards, and has 46 carries for 251 yards and 5 touchdowns. Running back David Cobb has 61 carries for 352 yards with 5 touchdowns, along with 5 catches. Rodrick Williams, Jr. has 52 carries, 299 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 2 catches. Receiver Derrick Engel has 12 catches, 160 yards and a touchdown. Maxx Williams and K.J. Maye will also get some catches, but neither has more than 6 catches or 99 yards.
Michigan is coached by Brady Hoke. The Wolverines took last week off after narrow victories over Akron 28-24 at home and at Connecticut 24-21, The Wolverines also have home wins over Central Michigan 59-9 and against Notre Dame 41-30. The Wolverines are 2-2 ATS and the total is also 2-2 this season. Michigan was an 18.5 point road favorite at Connecticut two weeks ago and the game went under the 50.5 point total.
After a near upset at home against Akron, many thought the Wolverines would be angry traveling to a winless UConn team. However, Michigan was down 21-7 late in the third before scoring 17 unanswered points to close out the game and escape with a 3 point victory against the Huskies. The Wolverines could only manage 284 total yards against UConn, including 173 rushing yards. UConn only managed 206 total yards and 12 first downs. The Wolverines had four turnovers and the Huskies had just one.
Michigan is outscoring teams 38-21. The Wolverines are averaging 409.2 total yards per game including 215 passing and 194.2 rushing yards per game. On defense Michigan is allowing 311 total yards (#21 nationally) including the 6th best rush defense in the country at 79 yards per game. The Wolverines are -5 in turnovers with 12 giveaways. Michigan averages 49 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 54. The Wolverines are 28/57 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 22/62. Michigan has forced 9 sacks and allowed 6. The Wolverines are 15/17 scoring in the red zone with 13 touchdowns and opponents are 9/13 with 5 touchdowns. Michigan has one punt return for a touchdown and has allowed 3 defensive scores.
Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner has completed 57.4% of his passes for 801 yards with 7 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. He also has 49 carries for 301 yards and 5 touchdowns. Running back Fitzgerald Toussaint has 79 carries for 320 yards and 5 touchdowns, along with 5 catches for 64 yards. Receiver Jeremy Gallon has 22 catches, 328 yards and 4 touchdowns. Devin Funchess has 8 catches, 145 yards and a touchdown.
Minnesota is 4-0 ATS after a double digit home loss, 5-1 after allowing more than 200 rushing yards, 4-1 after failing to cover, after allowing more than 450 total yards, and after accumulating less than 275 total yards, 7-3 after a straight up win, 1-4 in Big Ten games, 2-8 in October, and 1-6 against teams with winning records. The road team is 6-2-1 ATS in this series recently. The under is 3-1-1 in the last five in Ann Arbor in the series,
Michigan is 6-1 ATS after a bye week, 4-1 at home and after allowing less than 100 rushing yards, 8-2-1 after passing for less than 170 yards, 8-3-1 after failing to cover, 9-21-1 against teams with winning records, 11-28 in Big Ten games, 2-6 after a straight up win, and 3-9 against teams with winning road records. The favorite is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 in this series. Michigan has covered 5 straight times against Minnesota.
Michigan has struggled on offense the last two games and almost lost to Akron and UConn who are a combined 1-8 this season. They better fix their problems pretty soon as they have a lot of tough games left on their schedule. Minnesota also struggled on offense last week but the Gophers can score. I think Michigan comes back from their bye and wins, but Minnesota stays inside the 19 point spread.
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