Big Ten Football Preview Keys To Every Team: Offense

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten Football Preview Keys To Every Team: Offense

Big Ten

Big Ten Football Preview Keys To Every Team: Offense

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Biggest Key To The Minnesota Golden Gophers Offense

Get the ground game going right away, and don’t stop.

For all of the fun of the high-powered passing game that turned into one of the nation’s most efficient, it was the rushing attack that turned out to be the biggest difference.

It struggled way too much to start last year against mediocre teams – the Gophers failed to average more than three yards per carry in three of the first four games – but the O line took over late when it absolutely had to in the wins. However, the Gophers ran for a season-low 63 yards against Iowa, and 76 yards against Wisconsin – those were the two losses.

Going back to 2009, the program has lost 25 of its last 27 games – the two wins over Georgia Southern and Purdue last year when it ran for 93 yards and 92, respectively, were the outliers – when it failed to hit the 100-yard mark.

Biggest Key To The Nebraska Cornhuskers Offense

Keep the offense moving, and then keep it moving some more. It’s not just about the yards with this team so far. It was able to roll up huge numbers against Indiana, Colorado, and even Wisconsin, and it didn’t matter in any of those three losses.

It’s not even totally about turnovers, either. They mattered in the loss to Colorado, but they couldn’t stop giving the ball away against South Alabama, Maryland and Illinois and managed to win.

Last year, and going forward, it’s about converting on third downs, and doing it over and over and over again.

Northwestern was totally and completely miserable, and it almost beat the Huskers be keeping the score low and controlling the tempo. That was the only time all of last year that Nebraska won when it was under 40% on third down conversions.

The team was 1-5 when under the 40% mark, and while that didn’t matter a whole lot in blowout losses to Ohio State and Minnesota, not keeping the defense off the field was a big deal in the brutal-close losses to Colorado, Purdue and Iowa.

NEXT: Northwestern Wildcats, Ohio State Buckeyes

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