Why Auburn Will Win
– Let’s just come right out and say it.
Minnesota might not be all that great.
It went bum-slaying on the way to a 9-0 record, fattening up on a slew of mediocre teams before coming up with something special as it hung on for dear life in the win over Penn State. It couldn’t come through in a loss to Iowa, Wisconsin stepped up its game in a blowout win in the snow, and that might be 2019 Minnesota.
Solid, but hardly anything amazing.
The rushing offense is mostly okay against the decent-to-bad defenses, the D struggles on third downs, and …
– The Minnesota offensive line hasn’t been miserable, but it’s not great against the defenses that can get behind the line. Nick Coe might be leaving Auburn early for the NFL, but the D is fantastic at generating lots and lots of pressure and tackles for loss.
As good as Coe is, he wasn’t a big force behind the line. Leading playmakers in the backfield – Marlon Davidson and Derrick Brown – are not only playing, but they appear to be jacked up to do something special. Neither one of them needs to play, but they will, and they’re talking like they want to make a big statement in their final games.
– Can JaTarvious Whitlow come close to doing that again? He was banged up throughout the season and wasn’t able to quite be the workhorse the team needed at times, but he was explosive enough to rip through Alabama for 114 yards, score three times against Mississippi State, and come up with enough big dashes to be the team’s leading rusher.
In last year’s bowl win over Purdue, and ran seven times for ten yards and two touchdowns, and he took a pass 66 yards for a score.
The offense might mostly rely on Bo Nix and the passing game to keep things moving, but if Whitlow is in a good groove early on, he might take over.