This will be Minnesota’s final tune-up before the start of the Big Ten Conference season. The Golden Gophers opened the 2021 regular season with a tough loss at home versus No. 4 Ohio State but Minnesota has since bounced back with a pair of wins over Miami (OH) and Colorado. Meanwhile, Bowling Green is trying to get back on the right track ahead of the MAC Conference schedule. The Falcons have won just one of their first three games but are fresh off of snapping a two-game skid with a win over Murray State.
Can Minnesota close the non-conference season with a win at home over Bowling Green on Saturday?
McDonald leads Bowling Green to win vs. FCS Murray StateAfter dropping its first two games of the season, Bowling Green got the ball rolling with a 27-10 victory at home against Murray State last week. Senior quarterback Matt McDonald completed 22 of 28 passes for 221 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions in the win. Jaison Patterson carried the ball 14 times for 35 yards and a touchdown while McDonald added a one-yard TD-run of his own to help the Falcons earn their first win of the season.
TOUCHDOWN, BGSU!— Hustle Belt (@HustleBelt) November 11, 2020
Matt McDonald gets the rushing touchdown on a nice scrambling play to make this a tie game at 10-all with 2:54 to go 1Q. pic.twitter.com/8IJhADbggp
McDonald has been efficient under center this season. After completing just 43.9 percent of his attempts in 2020, the 6-foot-3 signal-caller has upped his completion percentage to an impressive 71.4 percent through three games.
While McDonald has played well at times this season, he’s received little help from Bowling Green’s running game so far this year. The Falcons are averaging just 53 rushing yards per game, the second-worst mark in the country. Nick Mosley leads the team in rushing with 74 yards and 4.4 yards per carry, but as a group, the Falcons’ skill position players have averaged just 2.2 yards per carry this season.
On defense, Bowling Green has given up 23.3 points and 349 yards of total offense per game. The Falcons have been particularly vulnerable against the run, giving up 171.3 rushing yards per contest, 91st in the FBS.
Minnesota shuts out Colorado to improve to 2-1Minnesota put together its most complete performance of the season last week with a dominant 30-0 victory on the road at Colorado. Tanner Morgan completed 11 of 17 passes for 164 yards while Treyson Potts carried the ball 26 times for 121 yards and three touchdowns in the win. Minnesota outgained Colorado 441 to 61 in total yards and 277 to -19 yards on the ground. The victory marked Minnesota’s 21st consecutive non-conference win, the longest active streak in the nation.
I think I've watched this Treyson Potts run like 100 times. He takes the bend read, cuts back hard, slides through a defender in the second level, and then lowers his shoulder at the end.— Daniel House (@DanielHouseNFL) December 14, 2020
A fantastic run that should have been a TD. #Gophers pic.twitter.com/4xQN8lhAuZ
Potts put together another strong performance in the backfield since taking over for injured tailback Mohamed Ibrahim, who is out for the rest of the season with a lower-leg injury. The 5-foot-11 sophomore has compiled 299 yards and five touchdowns through his first two starts and should be in line for another big game this week against a lackluster Bowling Green rush defense. Potts will be the lead back in a rushing attack that comes in averaging a healthy 218.3 yards per game on the ground, 24th in the FBS.
On defense, Minnesota comes in allowing 23.7 points and 299.7 total yards per contest. The Golden Gophers are hoping to build off of their best defensive performance of the season after shutting out Colorado last weekend. The defense notched four sacks in last week’s win and comes in allowing just 95.3 rushing yards per game, 28th in the nation.
- Falcons are 6-13 ATS in their last 19 games overall.
- Falcons are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games after allowing less than 170 yards passing in their previous game.
- Falcons are 4-10 ATS in their last 14 games following an ATS win.
- Golden Gophers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game.
- Golden Gophers are 19-4-4 ATS in their last 27 games following an ATS loss.
- Golden Gophers are 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
It’s hard not to like Minnesota in this game. While the Falcons were trounced on the road at Tennesee earlier this season and they haven’t scored more than 19 points against an FBS team this year. The Golden Gophers’ defense flexed its muscles in their last game against Colorado and should be able to put together another strong game against a Bowling Green offense that is among the worst units in the country at rushing the football. Look for Minnesota to control the clock with the run game and play stifling defense for the second straight week. Take the Golden Gophers to cover the spread at home in this lopsided non-conference clash on Saturday.
Full-Game Total Pick
These two teams are projected for only 51 points with a 31-point spread, which should tell you a little about what Vegas is expecting out of Bowling Green’s offense in this one. The Falcons might have a hard time holding up their end of the bargain in this game against what is shaping up to be a fearsome Golden Gophers defense. Minnesota clamped down last week en route to a 30-point win and I’m expecting a similar performance here against a one-dimensional offense. Take this game to stay under the projected total at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday.