Middle Tenn State vs. Minnesota, 9-16-2017 - Expert Prediction
Written by: Nikhil Kalro
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders at Minnesota Golden Gophers
NCAAF: TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota at 3:30 PM ET, Saturday, September 16, 2017
The Line: Minnesota Golden Gophers -8.5
The Minnesota Golden Gophers host the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders on Saturday afternoon from the TCF Bank Stadium. Both teams registered relatively comfortable wins in their previous games.
Bittersweet return for coach Shafer
The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders put up their first win of the season with a 30-23 victory over the Syracuse Orange. Brent Stockstill threw three touchdown passes to help the Blue Raiders overcome a first-half deficit.
“We made some mistakes today, on the one drive especially, but I was pleased the kids toughened up when we needed them too. It was bittersweet in a lot of ways, but far more sweet right now,” Middle Tennessee State’s defensive coordinator Scott Shafer, former coach of Syracuse, said.
Stockstill has had a strong start to the season, but the Blue Raiders offense still ranks outside the top 100 (currently 111th in the country).
Rhoda to start in week 3
Week 1 showed they could play scrappy football. Week 2 they showed off their offensive prowess. The 2017-18 season has started rather well for the Minnesota Golden Gophers, who eased to a 48-14 in game 2 against the Oregon State Beavers.
“Obviously, I’m excited about the win, but it’s not about the win. It’s about how we played, and they executed the game plan perfectly,” PJ Fleck said.
Fleck has also announced that Conor Rhoda will start for the Golden Gophers against the Blue Raiders in week 3. Rhoda has close to a 70% conversion rate through the first two weeks.
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders are:
- 5-12-1 ATS in their last 18 games on fieldturf.
- 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games following an ATS win.
- 2-6-1 ATS in their last 9 games following a straight up win.
Minnesota Golden Gophers are:
- 3-1-2 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
- 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games after allowing less than 275 total yards in their previous game.
- 15-7 ATS in their last 22 games after allowing less than 170 yards passing in their previous game.
The Golden Gophers have found their offensive rhythm. Along with their defensive intensity, they have a positive outlook for the season. The Blue Raiders are no pushovers, but this will be a hard team to get past.
The Pick: Minnesota Golden Gophers -8.5
Nikhil has been working with ESPN since the age of 18 and covers cricket for their website ESPNcricinfo. When not writing or editing news, game reports, commentary and analysis stories, he is following American sports. A love for stats and patterns, research and results and plain simple learning with a few years of handicapping experience makes him almost 0.500 reliable. A degree in business administration and a keen eye for volatile industries like the stock market help too.
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