Gophers football will show if it’s real in Michigan on Saturday – InForum

MINNEAPOLIS — The University of Minnesota Gopher got a 3-0 win with a dominant non-conference triple win, but do we really know what this soccer team can do during the Big Ten schedule?

Minnesota was fully up against three incredibly weak programs: arguably the worst Division I team in New Mexico, the FCS rebuilding team in western Illinois and perhaps the worst Power Five in Colorado’s Pac-12 member. These three teams combined 0-10 this season.

The first real test ends next: Gopher’s first Michigan state road game in East Lansing at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. Minnesota opened as a 3-point underdog to the Spartans, but some betting lines soon moved in favor of the Gophers on Sunday.

“We’ll find out more about our football team,” coach PJ Flick said after the 49-7 win over Colorado on Saturday. “I keep discovering every week something about the football team that I didn’t know before. You look back every year and it’s the same.”

NCAA Football: Colorado in Minnesota

Minnesota Golden Gophers run back the Tree Pots across the line against the Colorado Buffaloes on Saturday, September 17, 2022, in Minneapolis.

Matt Blewitt/USA Today Sports

The Spartans will help reveal the actual quality of the Gophers. The Spartans were 11-2 in 2021 and won the Peach Bowl. This season, they ranked 11th in the AP’s Top 25 before dropping 39 to 28 against Washington on Saturday night. While head coach Mel Tucker enjoyed a great season a year ago, the Spartans had the worst passing defense in the country, and this was their downfall once again in Seattle.

Washington quarterback Michael Benicks Jr., a transfer from Indiana, passed for nearly 400 yards and four touchdowns. Husky led 22-0 in the second quarter and 39-14 in the fourth before MSU returned.

The Gophers’ ability to exploit secondary Spartans is in flux. Quarterback Tanner Morgan rolls, but first receiver Chris Outman Bell suffers a leg injury versus Colorado. Flick is expected to update the status of Autman-Bell Monday morning.

If “CrAB” comes out as expected, receivers Dylan Wright, Michael Brown-Stephens and Daniel Jackson as well as narrow end Brevyn Spann-Ford will need to increase demand.

Michigan State was rolling before its flight to Washington. The Spartans defeated Western Michigan and Akron by 87-13. They looked top notch… until they weren’t.

“This week we will do everything we can to play for one of the best teams in the Big Ten,” Flick said, “(we will do) everything we can to put together a game plan to put our players in the best position to be successful and find a way to be 1-0 against the Spartans.

“They are a really good football team. A very good coach. They have athletes everywhere. We saw them in the off-season. They did a great job developing the transfer portal. They have playmakers everywhere.”

Michigan State’s offense looks multifaceted, with linebackers Galen Berger (Wisconsin transfer) and Garrick Broussard (Colorado transfer) sharing the burden. Quarterback Payton Thorne threw for over 700 yards and seven touchdowns. Keon Coleman and Tre Mosley have three landing receptions each.

Jeffers will play at Spartan Stadium for the first time since 2013 and move away from Minnesota for the first time in 2022.

“We will have to teach young people what it’s like to play on the road,” said midfielder Mariano Suri Marin. “We talk about it all the time: our culture is transmitted. It doesn’t matter where we play. Our level of football comes with us. Yes, it’s the first game on the road, but it shouldn’t change anything for this football team.”

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