The 2015 college football season opening weekend kicks off with a Big 12 – Big 10 matchup featuring the 2nd ranked Horned Frogs of TCU taking on the Minnesota Golden Gophers at 9 pm EST at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN. TCU went a sparkling 12-1 last season, narrowly missing out on a spot in the inaugural College Football Playoff. TCU capped their season with a 42-3 shellacking of Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl. Minnesota went 8-5 last season under head coach Jerry Kill, and lost 33-17 in the Citrus Bowl to Missouri.
The Horned Frogs will again feature dual-threat quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Trevonne Boykin who threw for over 3,900 yards with 33 TDs and 10 INTs last season while also running for over 700 yards and 8 TDs. The Horned Frogs return 10 starters on offense from last season, and the TCU defense lead by head coach Gary Patterson is perennially a stellar unit. The offense averaged 46.5 points and tied for 5th in the FBS with 533.0 yards per game in 2014. Boykin will have two of his top receiving targets back in Josh Doctson, who caught 11 TDs and set a school record with 1,018 receiving yards last season, and Kolby Listenbee who had 753 yards receiving last year.
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Minnesota was a very run-heavy team last season, even for a Big-10 team, with over 70% of their offense plays running plays. They return quarterback Mitch Leidner, who is much more of a threat to run the ball than he is to throw.
TCU vs. Minnesota Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
TCU Horned Frogs -14
@Minnesota Golden Gophers +14
Over 57.5 (-110)
Under 57.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
TCU vs. Minnesota Pick:
TCU is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 non -conference games and 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games overall. The Golden Gophers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall. The over is 5-1 in TCU’s last 6 road games and 5-2 in their last 7 non-conference games.
TCU’s lone loss last season was a 61-58 shootout loss to Baylor, but other than that game they rolled through their slate and with 10 starters back on one of the most prolific offenses in the nation they should be able to come out this season and hit the ground running. In last year]’s 30-7 win over Minnesota at TCU, Boykin threw for only 258 yards and 2 TDs as he and his teammates were still learning the nuances of the Horned Frogs’ new up-tempo offense. Leidner was 12 of 26 for 151 yards and 3 INTs and also lost a fumble before leaving last season’s game with an injury, and TCU held Minnesota to only 99 yards rushing, 134 below their average output at the time.
Minnesota will likely look to slow down the tempo of the game and control the clock with their running game in an effort to keep Boykin and his explosive offense on the sidelines. TCU is an experienced team with a very smart head coach in Patterson who has had an entire offseason to devise a gameplan for a Minnesota team with an offense and personnel that has not changed dramatically from last season. TCU started somewhat slowly last season, as Boykin got used to operating as a starting QB in an offense that is uniquely suited to his talents, with all of their key personnel back TCU should be able to start 2015 out strong with a convincing win over a Minnesota team that does not have the speed or scheme to keep up with TCU in a fast-paced game. If TCU gets up early they could run away with this one. The call has to be take TCU and lay the points here.