Primetime College Football: Gophers vs Blue Raiders
This game goes down on ESPNU network and features the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers and Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, who will be facing off for their first ever meeting at Floyd Stadium in Tennessee.
Minnesota is the more recognizable school since they play in the Big Ten but are coming off yet another disappointing season in which they finished 6-7, 3-5 within conference, and lost to the Iowa State Cyclones in the Insight Bowl.
The Golden Gophers return senior quarterback Adam Weber, 2,582 yards 13 touchdowns 15 INTS, and will look at his leadership to carry the majority of the offensive side since their running game only averaged 99 yards a game last year. That’s not very good, especially in a conference that relies heavily on the run in the winter months of the season. Minnesota used a running back by committee that saw no single running back produced more than 400 yards rushing.
Minnesota wasn’t just 6-7 because of the offense they struggled in many areas of the game on the defensive side as well. The Golden Gophers couldn’t much run the ball and they definitely couldn’t stop it in 2009. Opposing running backs were able to rush for over 150 yards per game on the ground and 19 touchdowns.
Middle Tennessee is coming off of one of the best seasons in program history after recording a 10-3 record and 7-1 in the Sun Belt Conference. The Blue Raiders went on to defeat Conference USA Southern Miss in the New Orleans Bowl.
Middle Tennessee uses a high power offensive attack that averaged 32 points per game, and showed skill in both the passing and ground attacks. The Blue Raiders running backs were able to get into the end zone 22 times while averaging 186 yards per game. The air game of Middle Tennessee was just as productive as they found the end zone 25 times at just a little over 235 yards per game.
The biggest blow to Middle Tennessee was finding out on August 27 that quarterback Dwight Dasher, 2,789 23 touchdowns, has been ruled ineligible.
PICK: Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders