New Mexico State Aggies (0-1) at Minnesota Golden Gophers (0-0)
|Date & Time||Thursday August 30, 2018, 7:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Minnesota Golden Gophers -18 -- Over/Under:
The New Mexico State Aggies and Minnesota Golden Gophers meet Thursday in college football action at TCF Bank Stadium.
The New Mexico State Aggies look for a bounce back performance after getting blasted in their season opener to the Wyoming Cowboys, 7-29 The New Mexico State Aggies have split their last six road games. Matt Romero is completing 59.3 percent of his passes for 140 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions. Romero enters this game with 27 career pass attempts under his belt. Drew Dan and Jason Huntley have combined for 85 receiving yards and one touchdown while Johnathan Boone has three receptions. The New Mexico State Aggies ground game is averaging -9 yards per contest, and Huntley leads the way with 22 yards on nine carries. Defensively, New Mexico State is allowing 29 points and 449 yards per game. Leon McQuaker leads the New Mexico State Aggies with 18 tackles, Roy Lopez has one tackle for loss and Shamad Lomax has one pass deflection.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers hope to start the season off with a feel good victory after winning just five games last year under P.J. Fleck in his first season. Minnesota hasn’t gone two straight years without a bowl appearance since 2010-11. The Golden Gophers offense was rough last season, but the return of running back Rodney Smith should help and wide receiver Tyler Johnson is coming off a breakout season in which he had seven touchdown receptions. The difference for Minnesota will come down to improved quarterback play, and you can only hope redshirt freshman Tanner Morgan is up to the task. Defensively, Minnesota was a solid unit last year, finishing top-40 in points allowed, and this year shouldn’t be much different. Carter Coughlin returns after leading the team with 6.5 sacks, Thomas Barber is on the Butkus Award watch list as one of the top linebackers in college football and Alabama transfer O.J. Smith should add a major boost to the defensive front. The Minnesota Golden Gophers could be a sleeper team in the Big Ten this season, but that’s only if they get better play out of the quarterback position.
The Aggies are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 Thursday games, 6-2-1 ATS in their last 9 road games and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall. The Golden Gophers are 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games on fieldturf and 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall. The under is 4-1 in Golden Gophers last 5 non-conference games and the under is 4-0 in Aggies last 4 games overall.
The New Mexico State Aggies are sure to be better in this game, as Wyoming is a really good defense with NFL caliber players, so the struggles have more to do with who they played rather than them just being bad. However, this is also a very quick turnaround for New Mexico State, and you have to question just how much better the Aggies can play. Anything would be considered an improvement based on last week. The Minnesota Golden Gophers are another phyiscal defense that returns a lot of starters and won't be fooled by the tricky running game the Aggies have. Minnesota should be able to bully its way to a comfortable victory, dropping New Mexico State to a very quick 0-2 on the season. It's hard to make a case for the Aggies after what we just saw.