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Week 9 - Nebraska at Minnesota
Posted Oct 24, 2013

Week 9 Fearless Prediction - Nebraska at Minnesota

- Nebraska at Minnesota | Northwestern at Iowa
- Michigan State at Illinois | Penn State at Ohio State

Nebraska (5-1) at Minnesota (5-2) Oct. 26 12:00, ESPN

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Being 430 miles and six hours apart doesn’t exactly make the Nebraska and Minnesota football programs neighbors like Iowa and Nebraska and Minnesota and Wisconsin are, but they’re in the general vicinity to potentially be rivals in the new West division next year – the two programs started playing in 1900. For now, each one is simply looking to keep up a little bit of momentum.

Just when it seemed like Minnesota was about to sink into the abyss, it came up with a stunning 20-17 win over Northwestern to turn everything around – maybe. The offense hasn’t gone anywhere, head coach Jerry Kill is trying to get healthy and isn’t on the sidelines, and there’s still plenty of work to do with a slew of nasty games still to deal with, but all it’ll take is one more win and the program will take another step forward, showing it can fight through adversity to become bowl eligible.

Nebraska has bigger goals for the taking with only the loss to UCLA marking up an otherwise terrific record. After laying waste to Illinois and Purdue, the start of the Big Ten season couldn’t have gone more smoothly. This is still looking like the easy part of the slate, with Northwestern coming to town next week, before going to Michigan, but if the offense can keep on productions without a problem, and the defense can continue to improve, there’s no excuse not to get back to the Big Ten championship for the second year in a row.

Why Nebraska Might Win: Minnesota continues to be a one-trick offense, and that one trick isn’t so great. The Gophers don’t have a passing game. No, really, the Gophers don’t and can’t throw the ball, with the 145 yards against Michigan the equivalent of an air show. Okay, so they’ve come up with a touchdown pass in each of the last three games, but it’s not like this is anything to worry about – Minnesota has the fifth-worst passing game in the nation. Nebraska has been just okay against the run, but it’s good enough to handle a one-dimensional attack.

Why Minnesota Might Win: If the Gophers can hang around long enough, Nebraska will provide the mistakes and the breaks. Turnovers haven’t been too costly, but the Husker O gave up three interceptions at Purdue and had at least one lost fumble in every other game. Penalties have also been an issue for Big Red, with eight in three of the last four games and 44 on the year. By comparison, Minnesota has been flagged just 30 times– with nine coming last week against Northwestern – with one extra game. This year, the Gophers are 4-0 when they’re not on the wrong side of the turnover margin.

Who To Watch Out For: Taylor Martinez is practicing again after missing more than a month with a toe injury, but he’s still iffy at best. Tommy Armstrong threw three interceptions last week against Purdue, completing just 6-of-18 passes, while Ron Kellogg has been sharper, completing 10-of-13 throws for 141 yards with a touchdown with no running skills. The offense has been moving, but again, the offense can’t screw up and give the ball away.

What Will Happen: Minnesota will be inspired and strong at home for about 20 minutes, and then the lack of a passing game will be a problem. It won’t be 1983, when Nebraska came to Minneapolis and scored 21 points in each quarter on the way to an 84-13 win, but it’ll be the 17th-straight win in the 53-game series. The last Minnesota win? 1960.

Prediction: Nebraska 31 … Minnesota 14
Line: Nebraska -10.5 o/u: 52
Must See Rating: (5 The Counselor – 1 Last Vegas) … 2.5
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