Why Minnesota Will Win
– The Auburn pass defense is terrific, but can it handle the high-powered NFL receivers and the better quarterbacks? Even in wins, the Tigers were hit hard by Oregon’s Justin Herbert, gave up well over 335 yards to Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond.
They were beaten by the great LSU receivers and couldn’t handle Jaylen Waddle and the Alabama targets, and now they have to deal with the ultra-efficient Gopher passing game.
Tanner Morgan averaged over ten yards per throw with 28 touchdowns and six picks. He might have struggled in the loss to Wisconsin, but he’s going to keep firing deep and keep pushing the Auburn corners.
Rashod Bateman and Tyler Johnson are as good as any twosome of targets AU has faced outside of the stars on Bama and LSU. Each of the two Gopher stars scored 11 times while combining for 131 catches for 2,284 yards. They’re going to keep on pressing.
– Which Bo Nix will show up? The Auburn quarterback has been fine, but it’s all relative. He’s not throwing picks – none in the last four games and just one outside of the opener against Oregon and the loss to Florida – but he’s not the type of quarterback who’ll give the Gophers a ton of issues.
He was able to bomb away on the weak and the sad, but there was the late touchdown pass in the opener against Oregon for his second scoring throw of the day, two touchdown passes against Mississippi State, and three against Arkansas. He didn’t throw for multiple scores against anyone else, and he’s not going to hit 70% on the Gopher secondary that allows QBs to connect on just 56% of their throws.
– The Gophers aren’t going to make the little mistakes. Fantastic at keeping the penalties to a minimum, they’ve been flagged just 51 times all year and more than five just one – getting hit for seven against Fresno State.
Minnesota led the Big Ten in fewest penalties, getting flagged just 4.25 times per game. Auburn sins 7.4 times a game, and has been hit with more than five flags in seven games.