Northwestern has a chance to play spoiler to Minnesota’s Big Ten West and College Football Playoff aspirations as the Gophers trek down to Evanston. Here’s what our staff sees going down on Saturday:
Noah Coffman: Minnesota 33, Northwestern 10
We might see Andrew Marty. We might see Hunter Johnson. Hell, we could even see Jason Whittaker or Zac Krause. It won’t matter. Minnesota, regardless of who is under center, will rely on Tyler Johnson and Rashod Bateman dominating their matchups on the outside. Ultimately, the Wildcat defense is going to struggle to make enough plays to give the consistently underperforming offense a chance. They wouldn’t have had much of one anyways.
Joe Weinberg: Northwestern 23, Minnesota 20
I’ve waited all year to pick this upset. Andrew Marty coming out party as he leads the ‘Cats to their first Big Ten win. It’s gonna happen. Believe.
Colin Kruse: Minnesota 21, Northwestern 7
Joe, Noah, and I are tied at 8-2 for predictions this season. By (correctly) picking Minnesota, I’ll have a one game lead on Joe. Sans Aidan Smith (and, potentially, HJ), the ‘Cats offense won't be able to do much.
Claire Kuwana: Minnesota 24, Northwestern 10
Minnesota is 9-1. NU is 2-8. That is all.
Avery Zimmerman: Minnesota 31, Northwestern 10
Jacob Brown: Minnesota 49, Northwestern 6
PJ Fleck is going to row the boat all the way to Pasedena. Tanner Morgan is going to torch the NU secondary, and Zack Krause/Aidan Smith/Andrew Krause or going to struggle to move the ball at all. Minnesota will win big over NU, and then ride the river all the way to the Big Ten Championship before losing to Ohio State.
Mac Stone: Minnesota 34, Northwestern 7
Remember that analogy I used a while back after the Ohio State game? The one about Northwestern football being a boat that’s dead in the water? Well, Minnesota football isn’t, and they’ll be rowing their boat straight to Indianapolis and possibly Pasadena. Gophers roll in this one.
Daniel Olinger: If Tanner Morgan Plays — Minnesota 38, Northwestern 3
If Tanner Morgan Does Not Play — Minnesota 14, Northwestern 6
At the moment the Gophers’ quarterback has not been cleared from concussion protocol after being sacked near the end of last week’s loss, and whether he plays will make a huge difference. Backup QBs Cole Kramer and Jacob Clark have thrown three career passes combined, and Kramer looked particularly mediocre in his two emergency pass attempts last week.
Morgan does a great job making reads in the pass game when defenses overplay the run, and if he’s on the field, the ‘Cats don’t stand a chance. If the Gophers have to rely on Kramer or Clark, Northwestern will compete, but I’d still give Minnesota a slight edge.
Yunsik Jeong: Minnesota 31, Northwestern 7
Let’s not kid ourselves, the Gophers are great this year and the Wildcats are not. As much as I want a Northwestern win, I just don’t see it happening with this offense. But at least the ‘Cats will keep their streak of scoring at least 3 points per game alive...right? I sure hope so.
Matthew Albert: Northwestern 24, Minnesota 21
Andrew Marty has a career day and dashes the Big Ten Championship hopes of Gopher fans before they even play Wisconsin.
Eli Karp: Minnesota 27, Northwestern 10
I’ve tried more than once, unsuccessfully, to pick the upset of the season, and with how injury-riddled this team is, I don’t see it happening this week. Even if Minnesota starting quarterback Tanner Morgan doesn’t play, the Gopher run game is strong and will wear down NU over the course of 60 minutes.
The big question: is this Mick McCall’s Senior Day, too?
William Karmin: Minnesota 24, Northwestern 13
It will be a brisk 11 am game in Evanston tomorrow. There won’t be a lot of points. Minnesota will be sleepy, but not sleepy enough. I expect Northwestern to play Minnesota relatively tight, but the Gophers will pull away in the fourth quarter. I know the depth chart has Andrew Marty as the second string quarterback behind Aidan Smith right now — I am curious to see if that will actually be the case tomorrow morning.
Ryley Hougland: Northwestern 21 Minnesota 17
Trap game. This is a contest stuck between two of Minnesota’s most important games of the season, the first of which they dropped. It’s probably safe to say that the Golden Gophers are looking ahead at their Wisconsin matchup next week, a game that will likely decide the Big Ten West. That, combined with the possibility of Tanner Morgan being out, could definitely cause Minnesota to come into this game flat, giving the ‘Cats a chance at the upset.
I also hate Minnesota.
Full disclosure: Ryley is from Iowa.
Inside NU Prediction Standings
Joe Weinberg: 8-2
Noah Coffman: 8-2
Colin Kruse: 8-2
Jacob Brown: 6-1
Avery Zimmerman: 7-3
William Karmin: 6-3
Lia Assimakopoulos: 5-3
Eli Karp: 5-5
Daniel Olinger: 5-0
Claire Kuwana: 3-0
Mac Stone: 4-1
Matt Albert: 3-6
Ryley Hougland: 3-2
Henry Ward: 1-0
Caleb Friedman: 1-0
Lucio Vainesman: 1-0
Graham Brennan: 0-1