Two teams coming off of pitiful losses in their first game are set to clash Friday night. The Minnesota Golden Gophers need a bounce-back game against the Maryland Terrapins. It was short-lived excitement for both teams as the Big Ten returned a week ago.
The Gophers lost by 25 points against No. 13 Michigan, and the Terrapins got blown out by Northwestern, 43-3. Both teams are looking to get back on track this week and regain some confidence.
Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck led the Gophers to their best season in more than a century last year as they finished 10-2 in the regular season and won the Outback Bowl against Auburn. They started the season with a 9-0 record before losing to Iowa and Wisconsin late in the year.
Maryland and head coach Mike Locksley did not fare as well a season ago. They finished the 2019 regular season with a 3-9 record and only had one conference win all season. Can the Terrapins turn it around this year?
They’ll try to get things straightened out on Friday. Kick-off is set for 7:30 P.M. Eastern, and the game will air on ESPN.
Minnesota’s offense didn’t have a horrible outing for their first game on the field last week. It wasn’t the game they hoped for, but they did manage to average 4.2 yards per play on the day. Unfortunately, that’s down from 6.4 yards per play a season ago.
It is only one game, though. Expect quarterback Tanner Morgan to step his game up in Week 2. Junior running back Mohamed Ibrahim has already begun his onslaught for the season, putting up 140 yards on 26 carries and adding two touchdowns for the Gophers offense.
Ibrahim will need some support from the rest of the offense, especially from wide receiver Rashod Bateman, who projects as a first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
The Minnesota defense gave up 8.4 yards per attempt in week 1. They need to cut that number in half this week to be able to stay in the game.
Thus far, the highlight of the year for the Terrapins has been the summer transfer of Taulia Tagovailoa to Maryland from Alabama. He brings a name that is easily recognizable due to his brother Tua’s success at Alabama, and has loads of upside to his game.
Unfortunately for Maryland, Tagovailoa had a forgettable Week 1 as the Terrapins starting quarterback. He threw for fewer than 100 yards and had three interceptions in a 43-3 loss at Northwestern. He also struggled to run the ball, with three carries for -16 yards.
For now, Tagovailoa remains the starter for Maryland. Dual-threat backup quarterback Lance LeGendre will continue to wait in the wings and come in on special packages to spot Tagovailoa from time to time.
Maryland’s defense must improve after allowing 6.5 yards per play. This game could turn into an offensive shootout that gets both quarterbacks off and running.
Where’s the Money At?
DraftKings has Minnesota favored by 19 points heading into the matchup. The total is set at 60.5. The total may seem high, but the smart money is on the over. Neither defense impressed in Week 1, and there’s a great opportunity to score in bunches.
As for the spread, due to what we believe will be a shootout, Maryland will cover. Whoever has the ball last wins this game in a close one.
Take Maryland +19 and the over. Good luck!
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