South Dakota State Jackrabbits at Minnesota Golden Gophers
Thursday, August 29, 2019 at 8:00 PM (TCF Bank Stadium)
The Line: Minnesota -12.5 -- Over/Under: 56.5 Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
The South Dakota State Jackrabbits and Minnesota Golden Gophers meet Thursday in college football action at TCF Bank Stadium.
The South Dakota State Jackrabbits are coming off a 10-3 season that ended in the FCS Playoffs Semifinals with a loss to North Dakota State. The South Dakota State Jackrabbits have split their last six road games. South Dakota State should be as effective offensively as it was a season ago, as 1,000-yard rusher Pierre Strong returns and its top-six receivers are back as well. Quarterback Kanin Nelson will be given a much larger role with the absence of Taryn Christion, but he played eight games last year and had two touchdown passes, so he’s capable of taking over the position. The South Dakota State Jackrabbits averaged 42.5 points and 480.5 offense per game last season. South Dakota State returns two of its top-three tacklers from last year, including linebacker Christian Rozeboom, who led the way with 105 tackles and 10.5 tackles for loss.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers won seven games last year and could be a sneaky contender in the Big Ten in the third season under coach P.J. Fleck. The Minnesota Golden Gophers have won seven of their last 10 home games. Offensively, Minnesota returns nine starters, including a star running back tandem with Mohamed Ibrahim and Bryce Williams, a duo that combined for 1,662 yards and 13 touchdowns. Tyler Johnson is back as the Golden Gophers top receiver and Tanner Morgan or Zack Annexstad should be able to take a step forward at quarterback with a year under their belt. Defensively, Minnesota loses its top-two tacklers, but a linebacker duo of Thomas Barber and Kamal Martin isa good starting point, and Carter Coughlin was tied for second in the Big Ten with 9.5 sacks last season. The Minnesota Golden Gophers could end up sneaking in the Big Ten title game this year.
I'm always high on the Minnesota Golden Gophers, as they're well coached and as tough as they come. It's not often pretty, but it's effective old school football and this has the potential to be one of the better teams in recent memory. With that said, the Golden Gophers style doesn't often translate to comfortable wins. The South Dakota State Jackrabbits are also consistently one of the better FCS programs, often participating in the playoffs and winning double-digit games. Minnesota should win, but the Jackrabbits aren't going to be intimidated given they've played in big games before. I'll take a stab with the free points here.