Minnesota Golden Gophers Vs. Northwestern Wildcats 10/13/12 Steve’s Free College Football Pick Against the Spread
The Northwestern Wildcats suffered their first defeat of the season last weekend, and now the Wildcats have another tough task ahead of them as Northwestern heads to Minnesota to face the one loss Gophers.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers lost their first game of the season against the Iowa Hawkeyes two weeks ago. The Gophers had a week off to survey the situation, and now Minnesota will attempt to rebound against a very good Northwestern Wildcats squad. The Gophers were without their athletic QB Marqueis Gray against the Hawkeyes, and while Max Shortell has done well in Gray's stead, Maxwell did struggle against the Iowa defense, throwing three picks. The problem however for the Gophers was not the passing game as the Gophers managed just over 100 yards on the ground, while giving up 177 yards to Iowa's Mark Weisman alone. The Gophers will need to shore up their defense this weekend as the Wildcats have a unique offense that includes one of the better ground attacks in the Big Ten.
The Northwestern Wildcats are an impressive 5-1 on the year, however this past weekend was a disappointment for the Wildcats as Northwestern let the Nittany Lions come back after leading Penn State 28-17 after the third quarter. Trevor Siemian was under center for the Wildcats against the Nittany Lions, and even though Northwestern favors the ground game the majority of the time, Siemian was solid for NU, throwing for 135 yards and one score. The ground game for the Wildcats only managed 112 yards against the stingy Nittany Lion defense, and Kain Colter, who has been the backbone of the Wildcat offense this season only rushed for 24 yards on five carries, and caught three passes for just 17 yards on the day. The Wildcat defense fell apart late however as Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin has started to really get a firm grasp on the Bill O'Brien offense and was able to take advantage of the NU secondary.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers have won five of their last six home games, however the Gophers have struggled against the Wildcats as Minnesota is just 1-5 in their last six games against Northwestern. Northwestern is just 1-6 against the spread in their last seven games against the Gophers, and on the road the Wildcats have gone over the total in five of their last six games. Last season the Wildcats defeated the Gophers 28-13 on their home field.
This has the potential to be one of the better games of the weekend in the Big Ten. The Wildcats have one of the more unique talents in the conference in QB Kain Colter, and it is always interesting to watch how Fitzgerald will use Colter on a week to week basis. Marqueis Gray is questionable for the Gophers, however Minnesota should still be alright if Shortell has to go as Shortell has been very effective for the Gophers this season. I don't love this play, but I think taking the Wildcats here is the way to go. The Northwestern offense poses problems for every defense they play, and even though I like what Minnesota is doing this year, I think the Wildcats are just that much better.