Minnesota Offense: Minnesota runs a true Big Ten offense, they like to run to set up the … well run. They are led by a pair of powerful backs in Laurence Maroney and Marion Barber. Both are averaging around 6 yards per carry, as they have dominated defenses all year. Maroney has 941 yards on the year, while Barber has 816. The scary thing for the Hoosiers is that on Saturday, both of these guys could get to 1000 for the season. The Golden Gophers ran for 319 yards last week in the Metrodome against Illinois. They are expecting to put up similar numbers this week against an Indiana team that ranks 10th in the Big Ten allowing 213 yards of rushing a game. They do not have the greatest passing offense, but they are conservative with it. Quarterback Bryan Cupito is careful with his passes, and has only thrown 3 interceptions all year. He can be a serviceable quarterback, but the running backs set up all of the success that he will have.
Minnesota Defense: Defense has not been the Minnesota strong point this year, and when they play on the road, the have often forgotten their game on the buses. Michigan State scorched the Gophers for 51 points when they met earlier this year in Lansing. The Gophers allow an average of 31.3 points on the road this year, while their offense has only scored 25 points on the road. Defensive end Derrell Reid is one of the top players on defense, as he has 10.5 tackles for a loss on the year, tied for second in the Big Ten. Terrence Campbell and Justin Fraley are the top tacklers for the Gophers at the linebacker and strong safety position respectively. They defend the run rather well allowing only 134 yards per game, but can not defend the pass, as they are the last in the Big Ten, allowing 270 yards of passing per game. The Hoosiers will have to get their receiver corps out and running to take advantage of the Gopher's weak secondary.
Minnesota Special Teams: Minnesota kicker Rhys Lloyd is one of the Big Ten's most accurate kicker inside of 40 yards. He is perfect from inside 40, including all his PAT, but when he gets outside the forty, he doesn't have the leg strength to make it happen. Rhys doubles as the punter, in which he does a decent job, but will not be significantly changing the field position. The coverage game of the Gophers is good, holding punt returns to five yards, and kick returns to 20 yards. This will not be a weakness for them, as it was last year. Their return game is also very good, with Barber and Maroney doing most of the work. Those two can really change the way the game turn outs.
That's the Minnesota Gophers in a nutshell, ranked #23 in the latest poll. They will play Indiana at 1pm in Memorial Stadium on all Hollow's Eve.
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