Gophers Squeak Out Another Win
The non-conference season for the Minnesota Golden Gophers has got to be one of the most bizarre in recent history. The Gophers could easily be 0-3 as they are 3-0.
The Gophers scrapped together another stellar drive near the end of regulation for the second straight week, this time to win the game over the Georgia Southern Eagles. And yet again, they found themselves in a fourth and long situation on that drive and still managed to convert.
A 10 yard pass from Tanner Morgan to Demetrius Douglas on the Gophers own 27 yard line in a fourth and eight situation kept the Gophers alive, and ultimately lead to a fantastic touchdown grab by Tyler Johnson with 13 seconds left in the ball game.
The Gophers are 3-0 heading into the BYE week before conference play begins in West Lafayette against the Purdue Boilermakers. Even though the teams the Gophers have played in the non-conference have been below-average or average at best, they have found a way to win each and everyone of those games, which is definitely great experience for any team to have especially in the Big Ten.
But that does not take away from the fact that this team has some real issues that need to be fixed with one of those issues being very prominent: the offensive line. The O-line suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucks!
PJ Fleck actually said it best in the post game in that they have a big offensive line, but that does not mean they have a good offensive line. There were two occasions where the gophers could not convert on extreme short yardage situations. One of them being a third and one and another on fourth and one. They were runs straight up the gut that resulted in either no gains or tackles for a loss. The O-line was utterly obliterated in every aspect of this game, allowing defenders to easily break around the edge and stall any short yardage situations that should be converted almost 100 percent of the time.
And I do not want to forget to mention that in both situations where the Gophers failed to convert on short yardage, the Eagles went down to score 6. That is something that the Gophers cannot afford to do in the Big Ten against much better teams that have more speed and size on the defensive line.
The Gophers O-line does not have one senior up front, but that is no excuse for the mistakes they have made. I am only hoping there is some chemistry issues or adjustment and reads that are being missed that can be easily fixed. Otherwise, if their mistakes stem from simple lack of talent, the Gophers are going to have a very long season.
With star running back Shannon Brooks more than likely returning for the Big Ten season in two weeks, Minnesota needs to block better and hold the line to create huge holes that our speedy running backs need to break free.
On a positive note, again, the Gophers are 3-0, and any other Minnesota fan would agree, I would much rather have the Gophers be 3-0 than 0-3, which easily could have been the case going into Big Ten play.
Like they always say, the best teams always find a way to win! And now that the Gophers are undefeated after three weeks, they are still certainly in the running for the College Football Playoff and the National Championship! Am I nuts for thinking that? I think not!