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  1. #1

    Default Top 20 teams on the Rise for 2019

    Athlon piece includes Minnesota and Huskers from Big Ten

    Minnesota ended 2018 on a high note, as coach P.J. Fleck’s team beat rival Wisconsin (37-15) and dominated Georgia Tech 34-10 in the Quick Lane Bowl. The momentum in Minneapolis should continue into 2019, as the Golden Gophers will be a sleeper team to watch in the Big Ten West Division. The offense improved its scoring average by nearly a touchdown from 2017 to ’18, and another step forward is realistic for next season. Quarterbacks Tanner Morgan and Zack Annexstad combined for 20 touchdowns in 2018 and are set to compete for the starting job under center once again. The passing attack received a huge boost when Tyler Johnson (78 catches for 1,169 yards and 12 scores) decided to return for his senior year. Johnson will team with Rashod Bateman (51 catches) and Chris Autman-Bell (28) to form one of the Big Ten’s top receiving trios. The backfield is also loaded with talent. As freshmen in 2018, Mohamed Ibrahim rushed for 1,160 yards and Bryce Williams chipped in 502. Those two players are back, along with Rodney Smith (1,158 yards in ’16) and Shannon Brooks returning from a redshirt year due to injury. Joe Rossi assumed the defensive play-calling duties after a 55-31 loss to Illinois on Nov. 3. Minnesota did not allow an opponent to score more than 24 points in each of its last four games, which certainly helped Rossi earn the full-time role. Fleck also upgraded his defensive staff over the offseason, hiring former Maine coach Joe Harasymiak to coach safeties, while Jim Panagos was brought aboard to develop the defensive line. The Golden Gophers will miss linebacker Blake Cashman and safety Jacob Huff, but Rossi has pieces to work with, including end/linebacker Carter Coughlin (15 TFL), linebacker Thomas Barber and safety Antoine Winfield (back from injury). Minnesota’s schedule features home dates against Nebraska and Penn State, along with road trips to Iowa and Northwestern next fall. After winning seven games in Fleck’s second year, another step forward is definitely within reach for 2019

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Blog Entries


    There's a lot of optimism in the air for this upcoming season.

    It will be interesting to see who will emerge to replace Jared Weyler as the signal caller for the Offensive Line. He is a key loss.

    It is kind of nice to see that the WR & RB corps are loaded. Hopefully, the Gophers can withstands injuries better with their good depth.

    I tend to agree with Blake Ruane at The Daily Gopher that the challenging non-conference schedule if they go 3-0 will help them set the momentum going into the Big Ten schedule.

    The Gophers start the Big Ten at Purdue, followed by Illinois and Nebraska at home, then off to Rutgers, followed by Maryland at home. If they go 3 out of 5 five, they would equal last year's total wins with four remaining games to play.

    If they can beat either Purdue or Nebraska and go 4 out of 5, it could be possible for the Gophers to have an 8 to 10 win season. But, the Big Ten is such a toss up anything can happen.
    Welcome to Badger Road Kill Country!

  3. #3


    Just stop it Swingman. We get that you hate PJ.

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    Consensus Top 25 Class, 4 of final 5, 80% underclassmen, Youngest Team, 2nd Youngest Team, Best Back-To-Back Classes Ever, 9 Scholarship Seniors, HS Teacher, 8-Hour Radius, Major Paycut

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