Minnesota kicks off 2020’s eight-game schedule Saturday evening with a matchup against the Michigan Wolverines. The Gophers are coming off an historic 2019 campaign that saw them go 11-2, including a win in the Outback Bowl against Auburn.
Of course, it’s extremely difficult to have any kind of expectations for a team when we haven’t seen any sort of action from them since March, but it’s hard not to carry big expectations for this Minnesota team. Head coach P.J. Fleck has proven that he was not a one-trick pony at Western Michigan, and is entering year four with the Gophers.
The roster is also much more intact than a lot of other Big Ten competitors. Unlike Wisconsin, Iowa, and Northwestern, Minnesota does not have to break in a new quarterback. They still have Tanner Morgan entering his junior season.
Minnesota’s week one competition can’t say the same, at least offensively. The Wolverines have a new quarterback in Joe Milton, must replace four offensive line starters from 2019, and their top two receivers from 2019 are gone in Donovan People-Jones (drafted by the Cleveland Browns) and Nico Collins (opt-out).
Defensively, however, the Wolverines are stacked up front. The defensive line is likely the best that Minnesota will face, and the Gopher offensive line must be ready to protect Tanner Morgan.
If they can keep Morgan upright, this should be a great game. The Gophers secondary is going to be one of the best in the Big Ten, anchored by Benjamin St-Juste, Coney Durr, Phillip Howard, and Justus Harris, and they should make their impact known in Milton’s Wolverine debut.