By Mike Hendrickson

Minnesota (5-7) will try to end a seven game losing streak in bowls when the team faces Central Michigan (7-5) at Ford Field in the Quick Lane Bowl on Monday. A full breakdown and score prediction can be seen below:

When Minnesota runs the ball:

The Gophers rushing attack has been inconsistent all season, and the Chippewas finished 30th in the FBS in rushing yards allowed per game. They allowed 166.3 yards per game when facing Power Five schools however.

Redshirt freshman running back Rodney Smith should be able to play for Minnesota, but Central Michigan should still be able to limit the Gophers.

Matchup to watch: RB Shannon Brooks vs. LB Tyree Waller

Advantage: Central Michigan

When Central Michigan runs the ball:

Central Michigan finished 125th in the FBS in rushing yards per game and averaged just 74.3 per game against Power Five schools.

Minnesota’s run defense hasn’t been stellar this season, but it should be able to control this match-up.

Matchup to watch: RB Martez Walker vs. LB Cody Poock

Advantage: Minnesota

When Minnesota passes the ball:

The Chippewas’ passing defense was the best in the Mid-American Conference with 190.5 passing yards allowed per game. Redshirt junior quarterback Mitch Leidner  performed well in the team’s last two bowl games but could have a tough time throwing against Central Michigan.

Matchup to watch: WR KJ Maye vs. S Kavon Frazier

Advantage: Central Michigan

When Central Michigan passes the ball:

Central Michigan’s quarterback Cooper Rush was one of the best in the MAC this year, averaging 308.6 yards through the air. He also threw 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions on the year. Minnesota’s passing defense finished 14th in the FBS in passing yards allowed per game though and the team will get back junior defensive back Jalen Myrick for the bowl game.

Matchup to watch: WR Jesse Kroll vs. CB Eric Murray

Advantage: Minnesota

Other key factors:

This will be the first game for the Gophers without the offensive play calling duo of former offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover and quarterbacks coach Jim Zebrowski. Tight ends coach Rob Reeves will call the offense in the bowl game.

Prediction:

Minnesota 28, Central Michigan 20

Central Michigan is a worthy MAC opponent, but Minnesota should be able to end their bowl-game losing streak.

Prediction record so far this season: 11-1