WNUR’s Predictions of Northwestern vs. Minnesota

The WNUR Sports staff weighs in with their predictions and previews for Saturday’s football game between the Northwestern University Wildcats and the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers.

Photo Courtesy of BleacherReport.com.

Okay, so, last week was bad. It was ugly. It was brutal. It was hard to swallow. No, we are not talking about Northwestern’s loss to Penn State. We’re talking about our predictions of the game. The only person that accurately predicted that the ‘Cats would fall to the Nittany Lions was Cameron Albert-Deitch, who will now be known as “Lord of All Things Predict-y.” Let’s get to the picks before this gets further out of hand.

Cameron Albert-Deitch (@c_albertdeitch): Northwestern, 31-21. Sure, the Penn State loss was brutal for our newly nationally ranked team. But the ‘Cats are sure to bounce back against a Minnesota team that threw three picks and gave up 182 yards rushing in its first Big Ten game (against Iowa). Player to Watch: Venric Mark.

Sam Block (@Blockless): NU 31-17. NU is playing from where it plays best: just under the radar. Expect Colter to get a lot more carries from the read option and run wild on the Gophers, who gave up a ton of rushing yards to Iowa in their last game. Player to Watch: Kain Colter.

Danny Moran (@DannyJMoran): Northwestern 31, Minnesota 19. Iowa ran wild on Minnesota two weeks ago and the Hawkeye rushing attack has not been on par with Northwestern’s this season. Expect more of Colter in the backfield running the delayed option read. That has worked pretty well so far this season. Player to Watch: Venric Mark.

Jim Sannes (@JimSannes): Okay, so I’m not making an official prediction since I will be calling the game Saturday (WNUR Sports Kick-Off Show at 10:00, Kick-off at 11:00 on WNUR, 89.3 FM or right here at WNURSports.com), but I will say this: don’t overlook these fightin’ Golden Gophers. Gray’s passing skills are under-rated, so if he’s ready to go for Saturday, he could give the Northwestern secondary a good fight. I’m not sayin’… I’m just sayin’. Player to Watch: Tyler Scott.

John Castellanos (@JJCast15): Northwestern 34, Minnesota 17. The Wildcats shake off the cobwebs from last week and turns back to the running game. The dual-tandem of Venric Mark and Mike Trumpy allow the offense to open the playbook and keep the Gophers guessing. Players to Watch: Offense: Mike Trumpy, Defense: Tyler Scott.

Nick Petro (@NickyPetro): Northwestern 34, Minnesota 24. The Wildcats are going to have some major problems the rest of the season if they continue to use the one-quarterback system they showed against Penn State, but the coaching staff will change that after last week’s debacle in the fourth quarter. The most dominant playmakers on the team, and arguably the Big Ten, are Kain Colter and Venric Mark – the ball needs to be in their hands as much as possible. The schedule get’s a bit tougher after this week. Player to Watch: Jeff Budzien (Heisman Watch?)

Jeffrey Eisenband (@JeffEisenband): Northwestern, 30-20. The ‘Cats were shaky in both road games this season, and the tundra of TCF Bank Stadium is no easy place to play. However, like the Indiana game, NU finds itself playing a team relying on a backup quarterback (Max Shortell). The Golden Gophers do not have the high-powered offense to compete big play for big play with the ‘Cats. Player to Watch: Kain Colter.

Nick Scoliard: Northwestern 34 – 20 With MarQueis Gray still out or at half-speed for the Gophers, I don’t see Max Shortell beating the ‘Cats like Matt McGloin did last week. I trust the ‘Cats defense to stop Donnell Kirkwood and Shortell. The biggest factor for the offense is if Colter can bring in a good performance  and throw the ball to make him look multi-dimensional. The offense also needs to stay on the field and not get those third-and-outs, or the defense will be too tired in the end. I say it’s close until the fourth quarter and then the ‘Cats start running away with it. Player to Watch: Kain Colter.

Ben Goren: Northwestern 27, Minnesota 24. I would actually be more comfortable if MarQueice Gray did play, because Northwestern has proven it can deal with mobile QB’s, most notably Jordan Rodgers.  That being said, I still don’t have complete faith in the defense to completely shutdown what is a pretty bad Minnesota offense.  Still, I expect a heavier dose of Kain Colter and Jeff Budzien’s right leg to lead the Cats to a much needed road win. Player to Watch: Kain Colter.

Kevin Harris (@kevharris711): 34-23 Northwestern. After struggling last week, the Northwestern offense will rebound this week with a strong showing despite Minnesota’s strong defense. NU will continue to find creative ways to involve both Siemian and Colter against a Golden Gophers team that lost by 18 to Iowa just two weeks ago. The Cats will go up early and when Minnesota makes a late 4th quarter push, the NU defense will find a way to deliver some key stops, allowing them to move to 6-1 on the season. Player to Watch: Jeff Budzien, one of NU’s underrated stars so far, will remain perfect on the season with a field goal and four extra points.

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