The Nebraska Cornhuskers are still searching for their first win of the season as they prepare to host the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Nebraska’s struggles most recently continued with a setback at Northwestern this past weekend. The Golden Gophers started the 2018 campaign 3-0 before losing in succession to Maryland, Iowa, and Ohio State.
Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck insists that last week’s loss to Ohio State was not a moral victory, but it is hard not to argue the other side. The Golden Gophers twice led now-No. 2 OSU in the first quarter and even more impressively trailed by just six points going into the fourth quarter. An upset was not to be, of course, as the Buckeyes eventually prevailed 30-14.
“We went there to win a football game,’’ Fleck said during a radio interview. “We didn’t win a football game. I’m focused on this young team growing and getting better. That’s exactly what we’re doing…. We’ve got to go win football games, though. We’re drawing a line. Season one was the first six (games); and now we’ve got season two coming up with the last six.”
The key to “season two” could be the connection between freshman Zack Annexstad and favorite receiver Tyler Johnson. Annexstad has tossed eight touchdown passes this season, but he has been picked off seven times. Johnson has 36 catches for 521 yards and six scores.
Can’t believe it
“I think the winning culture is instilled in me,” the freshman explained. “I don’t think I’ve known anything different throughout my life. I want to win, I believe we’re going to win and I’m a competitive guy. I don’t think I’m used to losing and I don’t think a lot of the people here are, either. We want to win and we’re going to do everything we can to win.”
I love this team. I’m proud to wear the N on my helmet. We aren’t going to give up.
— Brenden Jaimes (@BrendenJaimes) October 7, 2018
Like Minnesota, Nebraska’s offense features a freshman quarterback and one standout receiver. Martinez has completed at least 57.1 percent of his passes in three straight games after completing only 46.7 percent during a 56-10 loss at Michigan on Sept. 22. J.D. Spellman has 40 receptions for 537 yards and six touchdowns.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers are:
- 1-5-1 ATS in their last seven overall
- 7-18-3 ATS in their last 28 home games
- 1-3-1 ATS in their last five games against the Big Ten
The Minnesota Golden Gophers are:
- 13-6 ATS in their last 19 games following a loss
- 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game
- 7-2 Over in their last nine games against teams with losing records
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Things may get worse for Nebraska before they get better. The Cornhuskers are off to their worst start in program history and Minnesota is coming off an impressive display against Ohio State. Martinez was picked off twice by Northwestern after not throwing an interception in his previous outing at Wisconsin. He will have to play mistake-free football if the ‘Huskers want to bag their first victory of this 2018 campaign. The Golden Gophers are 3-1-1 ATS in the last five meetings between the two teams.
Prediction: Minnesota Golden Gophers
Full-Game Total Pick
For both teams, defense has been an issue against Big Ten competition. The Gophers are allowing 40 points per game (12th in the conference) and Nebraska is giving up 43.3 (14th). The over is 7-2 in the Golden Gophers’ last nine against losing opponents. It is also 4-0 in the Cornhuskers’ last four overall, 9-1-1 in their last 11 against the Big Ten, and 7-2-1 in their last 10 on fieldturf. Look for this one to go over the total.