FanPost

F/+ Breakdown of Golden Gopher Game

You start looking through predictions and you see real quick that while not many people have the stones to out right pick the Golden Gophers of Minnesota, many of the early predictions flowing in are seeing the game being a much tougher battle than maybe first thought.

How much, of course, is based off the fact that Minnesota beat a gimped up Northwestern team a week ago remains to be seen come Saturday but they do clearly have momentum. You get a sense from Minnesota fans that they think they can hang in this game, regardless of who is under center and at 5-2, they have a realistic shot now of making a bowl game needing just one more win to get there.

Click here to sort
Nebraska victory Graham Watson, Yahoo Sports
Nebraska victory Pat Forde, Yahoo Sports
Nebraska 31, Minnesota 14 CollegeFootballNews.com
Nebraska 35, Minnesota 24 Adam Rittenberg, ESPN.com
Nebraska 28, Minnesota 16 Brian Bennett, ESPN.com
Nebraska 41, Minnesota 24 Tom Dienhart, BTN.com
Nebraska 38, Minnesota 17 Brent Yarina, BTN.com
Nebraska 38, Minnesota 23 Sean Merriman, BTN.com
Nebraska 35, Minnesota 31 Stephen Bardo, BTN.com
Nebraska 24, Minnesota 13 The Sports Network
Nebraska 28, Minnesota 20 Ralph D. Russo, Associated Press
Nebraska victory Dennis Dodd, CBSSports.com
Nebraska victory Bruce Feldman, CBSSports.com
Nebraska victory* Jeremy Fowler, CBSSports.com
Nebraska victory Tom Fornelli, CBSSports.com
Nebraska victory Jerry Hinnen, CBSSports.com
Nebraska victory* Chip Patterson, CBSSports.com
Nebraska 31, Minnesota 21 Kevin Kugler, Big Red Wrap-Up
Nebraska 41, Minnesota 10 Adrian Fiala, Big Red Wrap-Up
Nebraska 35, Minnesota 17 Blake Lawrence, Big Red Wrap-Up

Predictions from HuskerMax.com's weekly prediction round-up.

While local media seem to sense a comfortable win for the Huskers, the more national or regional experts are certainly predicting some closer scores than maybe expected so let's take a look at what the F/+ models spit out for us.

S&P+

Overall NU's Ball MINN's Ball
NU Minn NU OFF Minn DEF Minn OFF NU DEF
F/+ Rank 38 70
S&P+ Rank 54 86 24 78 86 85
Rushing 26 79 86 112
Passing 39 56 99 93
Std. Downs 52 72 84 112
Pass. Downs 15 82 107 32
Play Eff 28 68 97 105
Drive Eff 24 83 72 65

When Nebraska Has The Ball

One clear advantage Nebraska has in this one is with their running game. It is the weakness for this Gopher team an the strength for the Huskers. While Nebraska fell back a bit in the rankings a week ago due to poor performances from teams on their schedule, this is still a Top 25 offense. For Nebraska, they want to establish the running game Saturday, which should be the case each week, but especially in early downs where we have struggled. How will the Long injury effect us? Great question. We should find out. The good thing for the Huskers is that even if Minnesota manages to slow down the running attack, they are even worse at stopping teams from throwing ball in obvious passing situations. That is an area where the Huskers have flourished in this year and gives them somewhat of a little wiggle room if they commit to stopping the run.

Similar Units

The most similar offensive production unit that the Gophers defense has faced to the Huskers is Michigan. It took the Wolverines a half but they ended up with 42 points. The most similar defense to the Gophers is Purdue though not quite as good at stopping the rush or the pass. The Huskers scored 44 points in that game, though the defense scored some points.

When Minnesota Has The Ball

Here is where the Golden Gophers can hold some hope though Nebraska's defense, while not ranked high, has made monster leaps in the ranks the last few weeks. Yeah, and they are still 85. For the Huskers, they have to simply stop the questionable Minnesota offense on early downs and force them to pass. That is the key though with the Huskers, that hasn't always been an easy goal. If they can get to obvious passing downs, this Husker team does a great job at tapping their opponent out, ranking 32nd in those situations and even better, Minnesota is horrible on offense in those same situations, ranking 107th in the NCAA. That will be the key for the Huskers defense in this game.

Similar Units

Minnesota really hasn't faced a defense that compares to Nebraska at this point. The closest defense would be Michigan but it really doesn't match because the Wolves don't defend passing downs well. The rest of the defenses they faced are either ranked way higher or even lower than the Huskers. It's kind of the same deal for the Huskers facing the Gopher offense. Wyoming matches up stats wise but no way do they do things the same way. Minnesota operates more like that of Purdue, just a little bit better in most areas.

FEI RATINGS

Overall NU's Ball MINN's Ball
NU Minn NU OFF Minn DEF Minn OFF NU DEF
FEI 52 77
Expected W Left 2.9 1.2 52 70 94 30
Off Efficiency 20 68 66 33
First Down 44 48 45 83
Available Yd 32 71 75 36
Explosive Dr 45 20 92 86
Methodical Dr 10 111 50 4
Value Drives 37 64 86 30
Off/Def vs SOS 84 83 87 87
Special Teams 3 29
FD=First Down Rate; AY=Available Yards - yards earned by the offense divided by the total number of yards available based on starting field position; EX=Explosive Drives - % offense's drives that average at least 10 yards per play; ME=Methodical Drives - % offense's drives that run 10 or more plays; VA=Value Drives - % of each offense's drives beginning on own side of field that reach at least opp. 30 yard line. Off vs SOS - Offenive SOS to date. How good are the defenses or offenses a team has faced.


When Nebraska Has The Ball

FEI grades things completely different and you can tell by the overall ranks of the units. Clearly NU has the advantage on offense, especially in methodical drives which fits right in with what we already believed. Minnesota's best advantage is that they do a good job at limiting explosive plays but honestly, Nebraska hasn't been big at that especially when the team shifted QBs. However, they have improved at slowly drumming away at teams and the Gophers have proved poor at stopping that aspect of the game.

When Minnesota Has The Ball

Here is where it gets weird. NU's overall defense is actually scoring good in this department but some of it is smoke and mirrors. Sure, they are top notch at not giving up methodical drives, in a large part because we are horrendous at giving up big plays. However, our last couple games saw us gain a big jump in efficiency and because of good field position, help take away valuable yards from other teams. Some of FEI breakdown stats can be misleading and I'd say that is the case for the Huskers but it does give glimmers of hope. The one scare part that can't be waved away is first down defense where we have been bad and Minnesota is at least average for their team. That said, Minnesota doesn't look for big plays, they want to grind out games and that typically plays into the hands of a Bo Pelini defene.

Special Teams

Minnesota has the advantage but the Huskers have done adequate in this department aside from kicking extra points.

Gameplan & Prediction

Run the ball and stop the run. Offensively, grind it at them and see if they can stop the run. Even if they do, we should have success in passing downs whether it be via runs or passing the football. Minnesota tries to win games by controlling the clock, winning the special teams battle and preventing you from making big plays. They dare you to go on long drives without shooting yourselves in the foot with penalties or turnovers. Therefor, run that ball and stop that run. If we can force them to pass when we know it is coming, we should be in good shape and of course, don't get fancy on offense. Just do our thing.

Huskers 42, Gophers 17.

This FanPost created by a registered user of Corn Nation.

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