The two scariest words in college football: Trap Game.
It’s what the Minnesota Gophers (4-2) will have to battle through when they take on Maryland (4-2) on Saturday afternoon.
Minnesota is coming off a pair of victories over Purdue, which is now ranked 25th in the country after taking down previously unbeaten Iowa, and Nebraska. Meanwhile, Maryland has been smoked in back-to-back games– 51-14 by Iowa on Oct. 1 and 66-17 to Ohio State on Oct. 9.
Last year, the Gophers and Terrapins found themselves in a wild clash. Maryland opened with a 21-7 lead after one quarter. Minnesota scored the next 31 points to go up 38-21, only to cough up the lead when Maryland put up 17 unanswered points in the final frame to force overtime. The Terrapins and Gophers both found the end zone in OT, but Minnesota kicker Brock Walker missed an extra-point attempt and Maryland exited with a 45-44 victory.
Who will come out on top this year?
Here’s this week’s predictions from around the web:
Pete Fiutak of Collegefootballnews.com: Minnesota 24, Maryland 20. "Can the Terps get their groove back? If the offense works, they have the speed and upside to set a pace the Gophers can’t keep up with. However, the home team D is too good against the run, it’ll come up with three key takeaways, the offense will hold on to the ball for close to 40 minutes, and it’ll be another very shaky, very ugly win.”
Saturday Tradition’s Ryan O’Gara: Minnesota 27, Maryland 24. “The team that controls its own destiny in the West? Minnesota. The Golden Gophers (4-2, 2-1) got a huge boost with Iowa losing since it already has beaten Purdue. I don’t know if they will climb into the Top 25 anytime soon given how they lost to a low-level MAC team (and almost lost to another), but that doesn’t matter for the West race. Maryland (4-2, 1-2) hasn’t topped 20 points in any of its 3 B1G games, and it will need a big performance from Taulia Tagovailoa on the road. With star wideout Dontay Demus out for the season, Maryland needs other guys to step up.”
Sam McKewon of the Omaha World-Leader: Minnesota 24, Maryland 17. “Another big 'culture' game for P.J. Fleck, who tooted his own horn after beating Nebraska and drew the ire of a Minneapolis Star-Tribune columnist. Fleck is quick to praise quarterback Tanner Morgan, but he does have a habit of trying too hard. He’s a decent guy and a good coach. He can scale back on the sales routine.”
Bleacher Report’s Kerry Miller: Maryland 34, Minnesota 28. “I like Taulia Tagovailoa to have a bounce-back game against a nothing-special Minnesota secondary.”
Mark Hasty of Go Iowa Awesome: Maryland 34, Minnesota 17. Sorry, Gophers. I simply cannot take a team that lost to Bowling Green seriously.”
Trent Knoop and Isaiah Hole of Wolverines Wire: Knoop – Minnesota 30, Maryland 27; Hole – Minnesota 28, Maryland 24.
Bill Connelly of ESPN: His S&P+ projection has it Minnesota 30, Maryland 27
Joe DiTullio of GameHaus: Maryland.
Two of three Athlon Sports analysts pick Minnesota to win.
Six of 11 over at The Spun are selecting Minnesota.
Four of five analysts at SI.com think Minnesota will win.