Well, things certainly have changed since last week for the Minnesota Gophers.
For one, they’ve gone from a two-touchdown underdog at home against a highly ranked Ohio State team to an over two TD favorite vs. another team from the Buckeye state, Miami (Ohio).
Secondly, and more importantly, they’ll be playing without star running back Mohamed Ibrahim, who was lost for the season after suffering an injury late in the third quarter of the season-opening loss.
How Minnesota fills that void might not be best known in this game, if the so-called experts are correct. The prognosticators don’t think Ibrahim’s loss will affect the Gophers too much against the RedHawks.
A first “W” of the season? Here’s this week’s predictions from around the web:
Pete Fiutak of Collegefootballnews.com: Minnesota 37, Miami 16. "Just how quickly can Minnesota gear it up again? It gave Ohio State a battle, but that was an emotional loss to start the season and now it’s without its star running back to work around. Again, Minnesota has a strange way over the years of having to fight too hard when it shouldn’t have to – the great 2019 team had struggle after struggle in non-conference play. Miami University won’t be a speed bump, but the defense is going to struggle once Morgan gets into a midrange passing groove. Expect this to be too much of a fight until midway though the third quarter.”
Chad Leistikow of the Des Moines Register: Minnesota 38, Miami 21. “The Gophers must continue their ball-control mentality (nearly 39 minutes of possession time vs. Ohio State) even after the unfortunate season-ending leg injury to star running back Mo Ibrahim.”
Bleacher Report’s Kerry Miller: Minnesota 35, Miami 13.
Chip Minnich of Athlon Sports: Ohio State 35, Minnesota 17. “Minnesota is trying to regroup from the loss of Ibrahim, and this opportunity to rebound at home may be coming at precisely the right time. Miami (Ohio) is a decent MAC team, but the Golden Gophers' experience along the offensive line and overall talent advantage will be too much for the RedHawks to overcome on Saturday.”
Saturday Tradition’s Ryan O’Gara: Minnesota 34, Miami 20. “Mohamed Ibrahim injury aside, Minnesota (0-1) had to come out of the loss to Ohio State feeling pretty good about itself. The Golden Gophers led at half and put a semi-scare into the Buckeyes. This week will be about establishing an identity without its star running back, who is out for the season. Minnesota has leaned heavily on Ibrahim, who led the country in carries last season. Now it must adapt, with Miami (0-1) serving as the perfect opportunity.”
Mark Hasty of Go Iowa Awesome: Minnesota 40, Miami 18. “I’d say it doesn’t make any sense to row your boat into a hurricane, but this is Fake Miami, not Real Miami. Truth be told, Chuck Martin has done a decent job of making the RedHawks at least respectable again, and Minnesota is going to be utterly lost without Mo Ibrahim, but I have noticed that P.J. Fleck will do what it takes to prove a point. Goldy gon’ roll, though I have to admit I’m not sure how they’ll score as many points as I think they will.”
Joe DiTullio of GameHaus: Minnesota.
Steve Helwick of Hustle Belt: Minnesota 37, Miami 21. “Minnesota’s offense will deviate from its usual gameplan without Mohamed Ibrahim, but relying on Tanner Morgan to create plays through the air is a solid second option for P.J. Fleck and Co. The Gophers should pick apart Miami’s secondary, and Saturday looks destined to be the breakout performance of wide receiver Dylan Wright — who totaled 57 receiving yards and a touchdown in his first game in maroon and gold. ... Minnesota showed flashes competence on defense to counter Ohio State in the first half, so I believe the same will be applied when the RedHawks take the field. With the Gophers’ defense playing a factor, Minnesota’s offensive output will be too much for the RedHawks to replicate in Minneapolis. The 17-year streak without a Big Ten victory unfortunately continues for the 2019 MAC champions.”
Joe Williams of SportsBookWire: Minnesota 31, Miami 17.
Bill Connelly of ESPN: His S&P+ projection has it Minnesota 43, Miami 16.
All three Athlon Sports analysts pick Minnesota to win.
All 11 over at The Spun are selecting Minnesota.