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The Nebraska Cornhuskers are off to their worst start in program history and will attempt to avoid dropping to 0-7 on the season on Saturday afternoon when they play host to the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Minnesota, for their part, will be trying to snap a three-game skid after starting the season 3-0. While it is safe to say that neither team is on fire, Nebraska will at least their rabid fan base behind them on Saturday in Lincoln to shout “Go Big Red” the whole time . . .
🔴 “Road game” 🔴
— ❄️ Nebraska Football ❄️ (@HuskerFBNation) October 13, 2018
The all-time series stats may surprise you, with the Gophers leading the series 32-24-2, but to be fair, the rivalry dates back to 1900 with Minnesota dominating the first half of the century. They won last year’s match-up as well, 52-24 in Minneapolis.
Gophers have to Go for It
Things seemed all well and good in Minneapolis as the team began the season with back-to-back-to-back victories over New Mexico State, Fresno State, and Miami (OH). Then the squad hit the road for the first time on the season and were completely shellacked by Maryland, 42-13. They have since followed that up with double-digit losses to both Iowa at home and Ohio State on the road. They now sit winless in conference play (0-3) as well as on the road (0-2). A six-win season and a bowl bid is not out of the question with the likes of Illinois and Indiana still on the schedule, but a win in this one would go a long way in Minnesota’s bid to accomplish that feat.
The Golden Gophers held their own against the wrecking crew that is Ohio State this season. At halftime, the Buckeyes held just a three-point lead, but they outscored Minnesota 13-0 in the second half to secure the 30-14 hard-fought victory in Columbus. While there is no such thing as a moral victory at this level, I will tell you this much. Nebraska is no Ohio State, and Gophers learned that they can hang with the best of them on the road, even in defeat. Minnesota wracked up nearly 400 (396) yards of offense against that vaunted Ohio State defense but lost the turnover battle 3-0, a stat that likely sealed their fate.
When it comes to defense, the Golden Gophers have a clear edge in this one, allowing just 354.2 per game compared to Nebraska’s 445.8. That advantage mainly comes from stopping the run game as they allow only 121.5 yards per game on the ground, which will come in handy against a Husker side that rushed for nearly 200 (192.7) yards per contest. Protecting the ball will be key for both sides in this contest and whoever does a better job of it should come out victories.
Nebraska in Big Red Need of a Win
The season of misery began in week one when their game against Akron was cancelled due to weather, a contest that first-year head coach Scot Frost surely wishes he has back (Although the Zips did beat Northwestern this year, the same team that just beat the ‘Huskers this past weekend). Instead of starting his rookie campaign off with a victory, Frosh had to regroup his team open a week later against former conference rivals Colorado. Nebraska lost that game, and has, of course, lost every game since. As a matter of fact, including the end of the 2017 campaign, the Cornhuskers have dropped ten straight contests, also a program record that nobody in Big Red Nation wanted.
Their best chance at victory to this point came in their last outing in a road contest with Northwestern. The Huskers best chance at snapping the skid game in their last outing at Northwestern. With 13:40 remaining in the game Maurice Washington scored on a three-yard touchdown run to put the visitors up 28-14, but it was all for nought as by the end of regulation things were all knotted up at 28, and in overtime a 37-yard Wildcat field goal sealed Nebraska’s fate. The stats were close with the Cornhuskers losing the yardage battle 487-482 while turning the ball over three times to Northwestern’s two.
At 0-4 in conference play, the team is tied with Rutgers for the worst record in the Big Ten, but fortunately for Nebraska, they will be playing against the only other winless team in their division when they run up against a Minnesota side that is 0-3 in the league. Minnesota is averaging two more points per game than the ‘Huskers, but Nebraska has a big edge in yardage per contest 440.5. to 350.5. If they can protect the football then they could turn that advantage into their first victory under Frost.
- 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a straight up loss.
- 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games after accumulating more than 450 total yards in their previous game.
- 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
- 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games after allowing more than 450 total yards in their previous game.
- 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game.
- 13-6 ATS in their last 19 games following a straight up loss.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
We get it . . . the game is in Lincoln, the Huskers are improving, and they are as they say in the business, “due.” However, you have to ask the question, “What have you done for me lately?” and if you are asking that to somebody husking corn, the answer is, “nothing.” Nebraska really has no business being favored against anybody at this point, and that includes a conference rival that has dropped three straight contests. I like Minnesota to win this game outright, but when you start giving them points that makes this one a no-brainer. The betting public agrees as the line has already dropped form 6 to 3.5 points. Until the Cornhuskers show us otherwise, keep betting against them.
Prediction: Pick: Minnesota +3.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Yes, the teams did combine for firework a season ago, but I think it is safe to say that neither side will be expected to light it up this Saturday. With both teams desperate for a win, look for the defense to show up and do everything they can to attempt to propel their team to a much-needed victory. The under has hit in four of the last five games the Golden Gophers have played following a win against the spread and is 4-1 in games after they allowed over 280 yards passing in the previous game. Considering both of these things happened this past Saturday, go ahead and expect those trends to continue.
Prediction: Under 57