GOPHERS OFFENSE VS. BOBCATS DEFENSE

Ohio runs a 4-3 defense with some of the same wrinkles the Gophers use. The Bobcats are about equally good against the run and the pass. Ohio gave up 297 passing yards to Idaho, but just 105 against Marshall. Watch the fumbles: The Bobcats’ defense has recovered five, and the Gophers have already coughed up five. Advantage: Ohio

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

Gophers sophomore Ryan Santoso is 5-for-7 on field goal attempts. Ohio senior Josiah Yazdani is 1-for-3. Advantage: Gophers

Player to watch

Ohio senior QB Derrius Vick ranks 14th in the nation in completion percentage (70.8), and it’s not all short passes. He averages 11.42 yards per attempt, ranking third nationally in that category.

 

THE OPPONENT

Ohio returned 10 offensive and seven defensive starters from last year’s 6-6 team. Former Nebraska coach Frank Solich is now in his 11th year at the Ohio helm. The well-coached Bobcats beat a Big Ten team as recently as 2012, when they took down Penn State before 97,000 fans in Happy Valley and a national TV audience.

GOPHERS DEFENSE VS. BOBCATS OFFENSE

Ohio uses a one-back set, often out of the pistol formation, and will look to run first, setting up the play-action pass. All five offensive line starters returned. The running game is solid. Vick’s favorite target has been junior Sebastian Smith, who has 11 catches for 172 yards. Advantage: Gophers

 

INTANGIBLES

The Gophers sold out TCF Bank Stadium for TCU and Kent State and expect another good crowd against Ohio for homecoming. The 2:30 p.m. kickoff should help. Advantage: Gophers

 

PREDICTION

 

20            13

MINN      OH

I’ve picked the winner each week, while overshooting the Gophers’ point total. The bar gets lowered until they prove me wrong.