Week 9 – Illinois at Minnesota
Illinois enters the ninth game of the season wanting to get another win to improve position in the Big Ten. We have to travel up to Minnesota to take on the Golden Gophers on Saturday, November 4 with a time still to be determined.
Minnesota had a solid 8-5 campaign in 2022, but they lost some important talent. Quarterback Tanner Morgan is finally gone. Athan Kaliakmanis is likely to take over the starting job. He threw for 946 yards, three touchdowns, and four interceptions last season.
The Gophers also lost long-time running back Mo Ibrahim to the NFL. Minnesota’s top two running backs from 2022 are both off the roster. In addition to that, three out of the top four wide receivers from last season are also gone. The one big weapon for the Gophers is tight end Brevyn Spann-Ford.
The strength of the Minnesota program in 2022 was its defense. They gave up 14.2 points per game, which ranked No. 3 in the country. I could see them taking a step back this season, though. The Gophers lost two out of the top four players in tackles, four out of the top six in sacks, and two out of the top four in interceptions. That is a lot of talent to replace.
- Prediction – Illinois beats Minnesota, 41-17
I think this could be a year where Minnesota struggles. They are missing some important pieces, and the quarterback position will likely be a struggle.
It should be easier to score on the Gophers in 2023 as well. With so many holes to fill, Minnesota is going to struggle throughout the season. Look for Illinois to beat Minnesota for the third year in a row.