In the biggest game on Friday night, we have a Big Ten showdown between the Iowa Hawkeyes and Minnesota Golden Gophers. It could be better, but at least we have a Power Five matchup tonight. Minnesota has been a disappointment this season for P.J. Fleck. He’s in his fourth season at Minnesota, so Fleck can’t afford to watch this team regress too much. They went 11-2 a season ago with a win in the Outback Bowl.
Fleck has gone 5-7, 7-6, 11-2 in his first three seasons at Minnesota. The former Western Michigan head coach has turned Minnesota around for the better. However, he has recruits in now, and Fleck can’t afford to regress over the next two years. One bad year isn’t changing much as far as job security is concerned, but Golden Gopher fans are going to start to get anxious if next year is similar to 2020.
Minnesota enters Friday with a record of 1-2 with a blowout loss against Michigan, 49-24, and a close call against Maryland, 45-44, in overtime. Neither Michigan or Maryland are good teams, so neither game is a good look for Minnesota. At first look in Week 1 of the Big Ten, the loss might have been acceptable versus the Wolverines. Since then, though, we’ve discovered that Michigan is bad. What’s that say about the Golden Gophers?
It’s not good news, and their follow up performance against a less than average Maryland team cemented that their defense just isn’t good. I don’t know if a 41-14 win over one of the worst teams in the Big Ten, Illinois, is going to impress anyone. I would like to see Minnesota win against a better opponent, say Iowa, before we chalk up the start of the season simply as an outlier.
Tanner Morgan will be asked to do more this week, though, and I haven’t been enthused about him in any outing this year, including the Illinois game. Mohamed Ibrahim has been a truck in the backfield, but he will need some help against the better teams. The Golden Gophers welcome the Hawkeyes to TCF Bank Stadium on Friday night. Iowa are off to a 1-2 start after close defeats versus Purdue and Northwestern. They woke up for a 49-7 win last week over the Michigan State Spartans. Head below for our free Iowa vs. Minnesota pick for November 13, 2020.
Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers NCAAF Betting Odds:
Iowa vs. Minnesota Prediction:
Iowa got their offense rolling last week against the Spartans. They put up 49 points behind a tremendous effort by leading rusher, Tyler Goodson. Goodson romped for 113 yards on 8.1 yards per carry and 2 touchdowns. Charles Jones chipped in for 38 yards on 2 carries for 19 yards per carry. In other words, Iowa was ripping off big chunk plays on the ground.
Quarterback Spencer Petras was steady under center, as he connected for 167 yards and a touchdown on 15 for 27 passing. Like Minnesota, the Hawkeyes prefer to move the ball on the ground instead of taking to the air.
Petras has passed for 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions on 54.3% completions. In his first season as the starter, Petras has not been consistently getting the job done. All Petras must do is avoid giving up big turnovers and the rest of the team is going to have his back, though.
As long as Petras can be a solid enough game manager for Iowa, then the Hawkeyes are going to be in fine shape. Goodson has run for 233 yards and 3 touchdowns on 5.4 yards per carry. The sophomore is poised to have a breakout season for the Hawkeyes.
While Ibrahim will pound away at the Iowa defense, the Hawkeyes have a serious advantage in the defensive department. The Golden Gophers have been gashed on defense. They haven’t been playing like what you come to expect from a defense in the Big Ten. Minnesota has allowed 481 yards and 36 points per game.
Both measures put them near the back of the FBS. There are only 12 teams in the FBS that have conceded more yards per game than Minnesota this year. Iowa and Minnesota have similar offensive styles. They’re going to run the ball often in this one. However, I have far more faith in the Iowa defense coming up with stops.
The Hawkeyes have conceded 315 yards and 17.3 points per game. The 315 yards against is 17th in the FBS. They’ve been particularly strong against the run, where they’ve given up only 102 yards per game in that regard. This should be a good one on Friday night, but I like Iowa to pull away in the second half thanks to their defensive performance.