The Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Missouri Tigers meet up today in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl. The game is scheduled for a 1:00 p.m. start time and it will be televised nationally on ABC. Currently the Betting Odds for the game have the Tigers favored to pick up the win.
Minnesota has been a rock-solid team in the Big Ten this season, surprising some teams and finding a way to win eight games. At the beginning of the year they dropped a blowout loss to TCU, but were able to rebound nicely from it, winning the next four games. Today they're going to take on a Missouri team that once again reached double-digit wins under Gary Pinkel. This might not be the sexiest of games to watch on New Year's Day, but it should be a good one between two quality clubs.
The Golden Gophers have certainly achieved some nice things under coach Jerry Kill, although they are not thought of as one of the elite's in the Big Ten. Picking up a bowl win over a solid SEC team could certainly help the perspective on the Gophers, who play a methodical game that centers around running the football with David Cobb, who finished with better than 1,500 yards on the ground this season and 13 touchdowns on the year. The Gophers also have a dual-threat at the quarterback position with Mitch Leidner, who had 10 passing and 10 rushing touchdowns this season.
For the year, Minnesota averaged 224.6 yards on the ground per game.
Missouri lost at home to Indiana earlier this year in non-conference action, one of just four victories for the Hoosiers. Missouri, though, found a way to pick themselves up after that loss to the Hoosiers by winning over South Carolina and then getting drilled in their next game by Georgia, 34-0. The Tigers would reel off six straight wins before falling to Alabama in the SEC title game, which got them to this point in the season.
Both defenses coming in have been pretty solid for the course of the year. Minnesota gave up an average of 23.4 points per game this season while Missouri surrendered just 21.4 points per game. Neither offense was great, but both can get the job done.
Missouri QB Maty Mauk is going to have to play well for the Tigers to win. He tossed for 23 touchdowns on the year and has connected for 10 of those with Bud Sasser. The Tigers are going to have to run the football effectively to win this game, though. Minnesota has the defense and ability to run the football that could have them winning this game. If Missouri can control the ball they're going to have a good shot to win.
Free Pick: Missouri 27, Minnesota 24
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