The last time Northwestern and Minnesota squared off, the Golden Gophers provided all of the tricks and no treats for the home side before Halloween 2021. With this year’s matchup closer to Thanksgiving, UMN may still hold the leg up in this series — especially given its experience in 30-degree weather. Our writers are, yet again, unanimous in their game picks for Saturday’s clash.
Gavin Dorsey: Minnesota 24, Northwestern 13
After Tanner Morgan’s second concussion in a month and Brendan Sullivan’s late-game neck injury, no one is quite sure which quarterbacks we’ll see under center Saturday. However, the one certainty is that both teams will rely on their star running backs to carry the load. Northwestern was able to run the ball right down the Buckeyes’ throats last weekend, but a combination of uncreative playcalling and missed opportunities squandered any chance of an upset. Mike Bajakian’s plays have been significantly uninspiring lately, and I think that ends up being the major tenet for a loss as Minnesota comes out on top.
Bradley Locker: Minnesota 34, Northwestern 14
In early-October, Northwestern played competitively with Penn State and then laid an absolute egg against Wisconsin. The same largely occurred in late October, with the purple and white losing a close affair to Maryland and then being dominated by Iowa. The Wildcats held their ground with No. 2 Ohio State, which means... Oh boy. Considering that the Gophers hung 41 on the ‘Cats in Ryan Field last year, totaling 308 rushing yards and four ground scores without Mo Ibrahim, this one could get ugly. Expect Athan Kaliakmanis to do some damage running, too. NU still remains in search of its first true road conference win since Nov. 14, 2020 at Purdue.
Iggy Dowling: Minnesota 31, Northwestern 13
Mo Ibrahim is pretty good. The high in Minneapolis tomorrow is going to be 30 degrees. Make of that what you will.
John Olsen: Minnesota 28, Northwestern 7
This loss will put Pat Fitzgerald at 2-4 in his career against P.J. Fleck. #FitzgeraldFacts
Adam Beck: Minnesota 24, Northwestern 10
With both teams having an uncertain QB situation going into this matchup it’s going to come down to the battle between Evan Hull and Mohamed Ibrahim. With Northwestern’s run defense having struggled all season I’ll take Ibrahim and the Golden Gophers to secure the win, dropping the ‘Cats to 1-9.
Ethan Segall: Minnesota 21, Northwestern 13
With Tanner Morgan’s status up in the air, Mohamed Ibrahim might get 40 carries in this one. This may be the week he proves he deserves to be in the conversation with Blake Corum and Chase Brown for the best back in the Big Ten. I think the ‘Cats will keep this one close but Minnesota will keep their division hopes alive.
Patrick Winograd: Minnesota 27, Northwestern 13
Considering the uncertainty surrounding the injuries to both Tanner Morgan and Brendan Sullivan, Minnesota and Northwestern will have to rely heavily on their respective rushing attacks on Saturday. Unfortunately for the ‘Cats, there are not many better rushing attacks in the country than what Minnesota has with Mohamed Ibrahim running behind a very experienced offensive line. Northwestern will be able to score a few times in this game and keep it somewhat interesting, but the Golden Gophers will outlast the ‘Cats.
Sophia Vlahakis: Minnesota 24, Northwestern 14
The quarterback situation for each Northwestern and Minnesota is unpredictable, but regardless, the Gophers have the Wildcats beat. Minnesota ranks fourth in the nation in passing yards allowed per game and features a strong rushing game. Northwestern is struggling, and Minnesota will take advantage of that at its home base on Saturday.
Sam Richardson: Minnesota 21, Northwestern 7
Northwestern’s run defense showed signs of improvement last week against Ohio State, and that same run defense should be what keeps this game close. Despite this solid showing, Mohammed Ibrahim and whichever quarterback Minnesota runs out there will be able to put up at least some points against the Wildcats. And with the Wildcats' sputtering offense and one-dimensional play calling, it’s just hard to see Northwestern put up more points than a solid Minnesota team who is at least proficient in both the run and pass game.
Brendan Preisman: Minnesota 28, Northwestern 13
Mohamed Ibrahim is 5th in the nation at 135.4 rushing yards per game. Northwestern’s rush defense is the 19th worst in the country. Also, Minnesota’s passing defense is the 4th best in the nation and Northwestern hasn’t thrown for more than 263 yards since the Duke game.
Zain Bando: Minnesota 35, Northwestern 10
With how nutty the Big Ten West is, anything is possible. However, the last few weeks haven’t given much reason to think that Northwestern will be competitive to round out the season. After surrendering a 7-0 lead against Ohio State (stop the count), the offense didn’t fair much better after that. A key reminder that Minnesota has a lot to play for with a win, especially if Purdue somehow upsets Illinois. If the Wildcats can somehow hold Mohamed Ibrahim to under 130 yards, there’s a fighting chance. Despite the small possibility, today just isn’t it and the frigid temperatures won’t help either.
Bring on 1-11?
Jake Mozarsky: Minnesota 38, Northwestern 14
I expect Evan Hull to haver a big game in his return to Minnesota, but besides that, Northwestern is outmatched here. Minnesota is a good-coached team under P.J. Fleck and they are in contention for the Big Ten West, and they won’t be stopped by the ‘Cats this week.
8-1: John Olsen
6-3: Bradley Locker
5-4: Gavin Dorsey, Iggy Dowling, Sophia Vlahakis, Zain Bando
6-2: Jake Mozarsky
5-3: Brendan Preisman
4-3: Jason Boué
2-5: Sarah Effress
3-3: Sam Richardson, Mac Stone
2-4: Ben Chasen
3-0: Patrick Winograd, Ethan Segall,
2-1: Adam Beck
0-3: John Ferrara
2-0: Leo Tesler, Ryan Cole
1-1: Emma Manley, Myles Gilbert
0-2: Justin Dunbar, Dan Olinger, Andrew Katz
0-1: Didi Jin