Coming off an important first win against Colorado State, the Gophers should have few problems coming up with another victory against Kent State. A full breakdown and score prediction can be seen below:
When Minnesota runs the ball:
Minnesota’s biggest advantage should lie here. Kent State’s rushing defense was incredibly weak last year, allowing 214.5 yards per game. Redshirt freshman running back Rodney Smith is quickly establishing himself as the Gophers primary option in the backfield, leading the team with 196 yards on 37 attempts.
When Kent State runs the ball:
The Flashes’ run a pistol offense, where the quarterback stands in the shotgun formation with the running back right behind him. In their two games this season, seven different players have 10 or more rushing attempts. None of them, however, average over 4.6 yards per carry. Minnesota did a good job of limiting the Colorado State’s rushing attack last week outside of a bad second drive, holding the Rams to 172 net rushing yards overall on 41 attempts.
When Minnesota passes the ball:
Kent State’s passing defense wasn’t much better than their rushing defense last year, which should help the Gophers get their passing game on track. Quaterback Mitch Leidner has 153 straight pass attempts without an interception but has only thrown four touchdowns in that span. He won’t pick apart Kent State on Saturday, but is in a good position to have the best game of the season so far.
When Kent State passes the ball:
One of Kent State’s strongest parts of their game was their passing offense last year, but it might not matter against Minneosta. Their quarterback, junior Colin Reardon, is entering his third full season in Kent State’s system but has struggled against tough opponents. In five games against Power Five teams, he has thrown 10 interceptions, one touchdown, completed barely over half his passes and lost all five times. Minnesota’s passing defense has proved it has elite ability and should be able to easily keep the Flashes down.
Other key factors:
Kent State’s last win against a Power 5 opponent came in 2012 when they defeated Rutgers 35-23 and have since gone 0-5.
Minnesota’s offensive line is playing banged up right now but it won’t be enough for Kent State to break through against the Gophers.
Minnesota 38, Kent State 6
Minnesota’s offensive woes as of late may prevent them from scoring more points than they should against Kent State, but this game should never be in doubt.