WNUR’s Predictions for Northwestern versus Minnesota

The WNUR Sports staff weighs in with their predictions for this Saturday’s football game between the Northwestern Wildcats and the Minnesota Golden Gophers. If you want in on the action, simply leave your prediction in the comments below, or you can tweet them @WNURSports.

Zach Kisfalusi (@zKisfalusi): Northwestern, 31-14. Northwestern finally gets back off the schnide in a bounce-back game against Minnesota without their head coach. Northwestern runs the ball down the Golden Gophers throats at Ryan Field on a cold October afternoon. Player to Watch: Treyvon Green.

Jeffrey Eisenband (@JeffEisenband): Northwestern, 33-20. These seniors are too old and too experienced to shrivel in a critical game like this. Minnesota keeps it close through three quarters, but the ‘Cats open it up at the start of the fourth quarter. Tony Jones returns to form with six receptions for 100 yards and a touchdown. Player to Watch: Tony Jones.

Cameron Songer (@CameronSonger): Northwestern, 28-24. Mike Trumpy will rush for almost 100 yards and the Wildcats will not trail in the second half. It will still be a close game with a hungry Gophers team. Player to Watch: Tyler Scott. The senior has more than a third of Northwestern’s sacks this season, and Minnesota should be starting their freshman QB, Mitch Leidner. If the Wildcats record more than three sacks (which has only happened once this season: at Cal), then Northwestern will win.

Ben Goren: Northwestern wins 27-13 because I want them to. Honestly, I could see this game being a Illinois 2012 grade dismantling, or a nail-biting loss. The coaching staff will be the thing to watch. It’s all about getting over the Wisconsin shellacking and moving forward. Can they do it? I have no idea.

Nick Scoliard: Northwestern, 35-31. As much as it seems like this will be an easy game, after how the ‘Cats played last week, anything is possible. The ‘Cats will come away with the victory,but it will be closer than anyone would like. Player to Watch: Minnesota QB Mitch Leidner – he got his first start against Michigan, and also had a great game against San Jose – look for him to produce a lot of yardage on the ground, and the ‘Cats will need to contain him if they want to win.

Kevin Harris (@KevinGoesCats): Northwestern, 27-21. While many except NU to dominate this game after coming off two tough losses, I expect it to be another nail-biter. With Venric Mark and Kain Colter both listed as questionable, the offense will once again turn to Trevor Siemian and Treyvon Green to lead the way. After a solid performance in the first half against Wisconsin last week, the defense has to avoid the big play and as always win the turnover battle. Player to Watch: Ibraheim Campbell reels in his 5th interception of the season in the 4th quarter as the Golden Gophers are driving.

Jason Dorow (@jasondorow): Northwestern, 37-20. Coming home to Evanston should help the ‘Cats this weekend. Northwestern won’t face a top-notch front seven, like those of OSU and Wisconsin, so expect NU to establish the run game early through Treyvon Green and Mike Trumpy. The defense continues to force turnovers and NU handily gets their first Big Ten win. Player to Watch: Ra’Shede Hageman. The big defensive tackle for the Gophers has NFL talent and has already blocked two kicks this year. He could take advantage of an offensive line that has struggled to protect the quarterback these last couple of weeks.

Michael Stern (michaeljstern23): Northwestern, 38-24. The Wildcat offense will come out on a mission to prove that last week’s Wisconsin performance was a aberration. They will succeed. Player to Watch: Northwestern offensive line. The ‘Cats have allowed 12 sacks and rushed for 138 yards in the last two games. The Wildcat O-Line must dominate in order for the offense to work efficiently.

Ari Ross (@aross50): Northwestern, 31-23. Northwestern will come out with a vengeance after getting pummeled by Wisconsin in Camp Randall. Fitz will not let these guys come out flat again, especially against a one-dimensional Minnesota team. Northwestern’s defense will load up against the run, stopping the Gophers offense and forcing the 119th passing offense in the FBS to throw the ball, creating turnovers to capitalize on. The Gophers will keep it close for the first half, but the ‘Cats will pull away in the third quarter. Player to Watch: Trayvon Green. With Venric Mark and Kain Colter banged up, Northwestern will look for Green to run the ball against a team that gave up four rushing touchdowns to Michigan.

Ryan Fish (@TheFishTweets): Northwestern, 38-20. I think the ‘Cats avoid a three-game losing streak and the offense bounces back in a big way. The rush defense is still shaky but shows flashes of improvement, and the defense keeps forcing turnovers. Player to Watch: Northwestern QB Trevor Siemian. Especially if Colter is limited with his injury.

Jasper Scherer (@jaspsch): Northwestern, 31-24. The Golden Gophers have a solid running game, which does not bode well for Northwestern. The ‘Cats have struggled to contain the run over the past two games, allowing 534 total rushing yards. However, assuming Kain Colter and Venric Mark play, Northwestern should have no trouble against Minnesota’s lackluster defense. Player to Watch: Venric Mark. The Wildcats will need Mark’s ankle to heal for this game. Their offense wasn’t the same without him against Wisconsin, when he rushed only three times.

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