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Minnesota Hosts Air Force - Current Betting Line Favors Gophers

9/12/09

The Minnesota Gophers played tough football and escaped a week one scare against Syracuse with a win in overtime. They failed to cover the spread in that game, winning by a field goal while they were favored by 7 points. They will play the Air Force Falcons this week, a team that delivered a 72-0 thrashing to Nichols State in their home opener. This game will take place at Minnesota. This is a good matchup and a game that you wonít want to miss.

The Air Force Falcons couldnít have been any more dominate in their first game of the year. They racked up a massive 576 total yards, 474 of which came on the ground. The Falcons were a perfect 3-3 for fourth down, and 8-15 on third down. The defense held Nichols State to 1-14 on third down, and dominated them in every way possible. They forced and recovered 4 fumbles. 5 players had at least 50 yards in rushing, with Connor Dietz leading Air Force at 83 yards with a long run of 53. They outplayed the opposition in every single way possible. Things wonít be so easy this week though.

Air Force is a team that finished last year with a solid record of 8-5. They are no stranger to winning games. The Falcons were 4-1 when playing on the road last year, with their only loss coming to Mountain West Conference heavyweight TCU. As displayed in the Nichols State game, Air Force is a very strong running team. They have led the MWC in rushing every year since the conference was started, and they finished 6th in the nation last year. The defense is also strong, with a very tough corps of linebackers and a strong secondary. Problems could arise with if Minnesota stops the run, because this team hasnít proved they can effective throw the ball.

All things considered, Minnesota probably should have lost last week. If not for a miscue by QB Greg Paulus in OT that led to an INT and subsequent score for the Gophers, this team would be 0-1. They didnít do a good job of scoring on Syracuse, a team that ranked 101st in the nation last year in total and scoring defense. QB Adam Weber played respectably, putting up 248 yards while throwing a touchdown pass and an interception. The run was relatively ineffective, but RB Duane Bennett was able to pick up a TD while rushing for 78 yards on 16 carries. Iíd like to see the Gophers do a better job of converting on third down this week, as they were 5-17 against the Orange.

Minnesota did an excellent job of getting to turnovers last year, finishing at +12 with a ranking of 16th in the country. QB Weber is a strong and the offense is in good hands with him. WR Eric Decker was an All-Big Ten member last year and it wouldnít be surprising to see the senior have a big game while playing at home. He had over 1,000 yards and 7 TDs last year. Iím a bit worried about Minnesotaís ability to stop the potent Air Force running game. Their defensive lineman arenít the best around, and the Gophers ranked 68th against the run last year.

The line favors the Minnesota Gophers at -3.5 at most sportsbooks. I really like the Air Force Falcons coming in after a dominating win. They did a tremendous job of running the ball and should be able to do the same here. Minnesota looked a bit sluggish against what is considered to be a poor team in Syracuse. Iíll take Air Force to win this one straight up. The O/U is high at 47.5, but Iíll take the over. Air Force should put big points up, and Minnesota wonít be too far behind them.

 

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